For what he said—and also for what he refused to mention—President Donald Trump was lampooned by progressive critics as he delivered his first ever speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday morning.
"It's time for this charade to end: We need to stop this slow roll toward a catastrophic war, and work towards defusing the North Korean crisis diplomatically. Trump's U.N. speech represents yet another reckless escalation in the ongoing tit-for-tat between North Korea and the United States that does nothing but edge us closer to nuclear war.
While castigating Iran and Venezuela as failed and destabilizing regimes and threatening to "totally destroy North Korea" if he thinks necessary, Trump acknowledged nothing about the misery sowed by U.S. foreign policy around the world.
For many critics, Trump's war-mongering and bellicosity—though a bone to his domestic right-wing base—are enormously counter-productive in terms of reducing global threats and geopolitical tensions. As Vox reporter Matt Yglesias put it, "If you want to know why [North Korea] wants a nuclear deterrent, just read Trump's speech."
In a joint statement following Trump's speech, MoveOn.org, CREDO Action, and Win Without War blasted the remarks:
Donald Trump’s first speech to the United Nations General Assembly today – and in particular, his remarks about North Korea – was nothing short of a complete failure of American leadership. Instead of focusing on efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis surrounding its nuclear program, Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea.”
It’s time for this charade to end: We need to stop this slow roll toward a catastrophic war, and work towards defusing the North Korean crisis diplomatically. Trump’s U.N. speech represents yet another reckless escalation in the ongoing tit-for-tat between North Korea and the United States that does nothing but edge us closer to nuclear war.
"The choice is clear," the groups concluded, "either we let Trump’s incompetence and bellicosity drive us into a destructive conflict potentially more devastating than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, or we can focus our efforts on negotiation. The United States and its allies and partners must immediately move toward easing tensions on the Korean peninsula diplomatically, and work toward ending this conflict peacefully. The fate of the region and the world depend on it."
On social media, the president's critics were swift with their appraisals and condemnation:
Peace can only be achieved with justice, equality & accountability, not threats and escalations. President Trump is a threat to peace. #UNGA— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) September 19, 2017
Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea." This is reckless & irresponsible. War would kill millions & wreck the world economy #UNGA— Win Without War (@WinWithoutWar) September 19, 2017
Reminder: threatening to kill 25 million North Koreans because you don't like their leader is threatening to commit genocide.— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) September 19, 2017
Trump threatened nuclear holocaust & genocide, so yah, "revolutionary."https://t.co/ahHgHcq5O8— Tyler Cullis (@TylerCullis) September 19, 2017