The United Nations General Assembly’s kicked into gear with high-level meetings this week, and President Donald Trump’s many skirmishes with world leaders have bubbled to the surface in a spectacularly simultaneous and visible manner.
CNN reported on Thursday that President Trump was “ranting and venting on trade” in his Monday meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
President Trump has imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on European Union countries, including France, which is also trying to find a way to save the Iran nuclear deal. Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in May and has threatened extraterritorial sanctions on countries who continue to invest in and trade with Iran.
There was “some rapport” between the two leaders during their meeting, “but it’s not what it (once) was,” a source told CNN. Indeed, Macron’s July White House visit was for more positive, if weird, with Trump awkwardly telling France’s First Lady, Brigitte Macron, that she is in “such good shape” and bizarrely stopping to groom the French president on camera by picking off a fleck of dandruff off his shoulder before calling him “perfect.”
Also on Monday, the Trump administration had the distinction of being the only other nation, standing alongside the virulently anti-refugee nation of Hungary, to refuse to sign the new global compact on migrants of refugees, which looks for collaborative ways for U.N. member states to help the world’s 68.5 million displaced people.
On Tuesday, President Trump gave a long speech before the U.N. at the start of the General Debate that made it clear that his mission runs entirely counter to that of the Untied Nations and its multilateral approach to global issues.
He made it clear that his administration would only give aid to countries that were loyal to U.S. interests and pledged loyalty to its missions, and that it was time for the world to stop taking “advantage” of the United States. Other world leaders made the opposite points, including Macron, who used his speech as a direct rebuke to Trump’s.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also gave a speech slamming Trump’s perspective, saying that his distain for multilateralism was a “symptom of a weak intellect.”
Things somehow got worse, though.
On Wednesday, the president led a U.N. Security Council meeting, which was intended to highlight the progress he’s made with North Korea on its ballistic and nuclear missile programs as well as create an anti-Iran consensus. Boy, did that not go as planned.
Security Council members, one after the other, emphasized their support for the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, saying that while it was imperfect, it was a step in the right direction and Trump was wrong to leave the deal.
Worse yet — if that’s even possible — in his opening remarks, President Trump also accused China of trying to interfere with the upcoming congressional midterms.
“They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade,” said Trump, who has, indeed, drawn the United States into a massive trade war with China and has also ratcheted up military tensions with the Asian giant.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, upon hearing these comments, looked to his neighbor in the meeting and shrugged. When it was his turn to speak at the meeting, he said, “We do not and will not interfere in any countries’ domestic affairs. We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China.”
Shortly after Iran’s President Rouhani gave a press conference to gloat over Trump being isolated at the U.N. Security Council meeting, President Trump gave his own press conference. He insisted that China respected him for his “very, very large brain,” although President Xi Jinping might no longer be his friend.
At the same conference, Trump said that he had rejected an offer by Canada to meet but that he’d rejected the offer because Canada’s “tariffs are too high.” But Canada denies ever making the request for the meeting.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is like almost everyone else, embroiled in a bitter trade dispute with President Trump, as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (a trip-lateral deal between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) continues.
And folks, the week is not over yet.