Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He went to the United Nations to talk about the "total" destruction of a nation of 25 million people.

Trump's first full address to the UN General Assembly today included this passage:
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. "Rocket Man" is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
Trump later tweeted out the first part of that passage. The speech was read directly from a teleprompter, including the "rocket man" text.

Diplomacy is not Trump's strong suit, but he's not the first world leader to use the United Nations' microphone that way. In 1960, Nikita Kruschchev (then Premier of the Soviet Union) stormed the podium to lash out at a pro-US speaker, calling him "a jerk, a stooge, and a lackey" and a "toady of imperialism" (but not a "rocket man") before reportedly banging his shoe in frustration on the podium. In 2006, Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, said that he could still smell the sulfur at the podium from "the devil's" speech the day before (meaning President George W. Bush), and called on the assembled nations to rise up against the United States and the "imperialist" threat it posed to the world.

Trump's speech also condemned Venezuela and Iran. He did not mention Russia except to briefly thank the Putin regime for a vote on North Korean sanctions.

Why does this matter?

  • It's bad if you can't tell at a glance whether a speech was given by the President of the United States or Hugo Chavez.