Trump raps China at UN as US deaths top 200,000
WASHINGTON – President Trump asked world leaders to hold China accountable in a video address to a scaled-down U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. President Trump blamed China for the spread of the coronavirus as America’s death toll topped 200,000.
Trump took it beyond China, aiming at the very foundation of the United Nations by urging other leaders to put their own countries first, a message seen clearly in his own “America First” campaign mantra.
“Only when you take care of your own citizens, will you find a true basis for cooperation,” Trump said. “As president, I have rejected the failed approaches of the past – and I am proudly putting America first, just as you should be putting your countries first. That’s OK. That’s what you should be doing.”
Despite this, the coronavirus remained the core and the backdrop of Trump’s address. Speeches by U.S. presidents are usually a highlight of the annual General Assembly, a premier event on the global calendar. This year’s gathering is being held remotely considering the pandemic. Trump, refused an auditorium packed with world leaders, gave the shortest General Assembly speech by a U.S. president in more than two decades, lasting just under eight minutes.
Trump cast blame on China, seeking to deflect the fire he currently faces for his handling of the coronavirus crisis.
“The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions,” Trump said, without elaborating on what punishment he thought was deserved.
The coronavirus and President Trump’s handling of the ensuing crisis is a top issue in the presidential campaign. Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent, says Trump bungled the response to COVID-19 and caused the U.S. to have more deaths than any other nation. Trump denied this, encouraging the U.S. to reopen even as the virus rapidly spread.
Trump’s U.N. address came as he faces an upcoming fight over a Supreme Court nomination and a heated reelection campaign in a bitterly divided America.
President Trump is running behind Biden in many polls, yet told the U.N. General Assembly that he’d be back next year.
“I am supremely confident that next year, when we gather in person, we will be in the midst of one of the greatest years in our history,” Trump said.