Trump: ‘You Just Don’t See the United Nations, Like, Solving Conflicts’

Patrick Goodenough | April 25, 2017 | 4:17am EDT
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President Donald Trump meets with United Nations ambassadors at the White House on Monday, April 24, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( – President Trump on Monday described the United Nations as an “underperformer,” telling a gathering of Security Council ambassadors that the world body “doesn’t like taking on certain problems.”

“It hasn’t lived up to the potential,” he said. “I see a day when there’s a conflict where the United Nations, you get together, and you solve the conflict. You just don’t see the United Nations, like, solving conflicts.  I think that’s going to start happening now.”

Addressing ambassadors and spouses in the White House state dining room, a president who has made no secret of his low regard for the U.N. and has signaled plans to reduce U.S. contributions, spoke briefly about budgetary matters, saying that costs have “absolutely gone out of control.”

“But I will say this,” he continued. “If we do a great job, I care much less about the budget, because you’re talking about peanuts compared to the important work you’re doing.”

Trump called “unfair” the fact that has the U.S., one of 193 U.N. member-states, accounts for 22 percent of the operating budget as well as almost 30 percent (28.57 percent) of the peacekeeping budget.

“We need the member-states to come together to eliminate inefficiency and bloat, and to ensure that no one nation shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden militarily or financially,” he said. “This is only fair to our taxpayers.”

In his critical comments about the U.N., Trump pointed in particular to its record on dealing with the civil war in Syria and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

“Our nation faces serious and growing threats, and many of them stem from problems that have been unaddressed for far too long,” he said. “In fact, the United Nations doesn’t like taking on certain problems.”

“On Syria, the council failed again this month to respond to Syria’s use of chemical weapons,” he recalled, describing that as “a great disappointment.”

“The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable, and the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” he continued.

“This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem, and it’s a problem we have to finally solve. People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it’s time to solve the problem.”

Trump did not name names, but Russia on April 12 used the power it wields as a permanent member of the council to veto a Syria-related resolution for an eighth time since 2011. On six of those occasions, China has joined Russia.

Russia backs the Assad regime’s denial of responsibility for a deadly toxic gas attack in Idlib province on April 4. Trump in response to the incident ordered a cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase.

On North Korea, the U.S. and its allies have long been frustrated with China’s evident unwillingness to apply tough pressure on its neighbor and trading partner in response to its provocative behavior.

Ambassadors at Monday’s event represented the 15 members of the Security Council – permanent members the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China, and temporary members Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Seated alongside Trump was U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who holds the council’s rotating presidency this month.

The president praised her “outstanding leadership” and said he know for a fact that she feels very strongly about tackling problems that the U.N. has “steered away from.”

“I encourage the Security Council to come together and take action to counter all of these many threats.”

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