A painfully awkward silence—and some scattered laughter—befell the United Nations General Assembly hall in New York Tuesday as U.S. President Donald Trump attempted to blame the "faithful" implementation of socialism for Venezuela's political and economic crisis.
"The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented," Trump said.
Eventually, some in the hall quietly applauded the comment—but only after Trump waited desperately for several long moments.
well this is awkward pic.twitter.com/HS7YIM9tvq
— David Mack (@davidmackau) September 19, 2017
Tuesday's speech marked Trump's first address before the U.N. General Assembly, and he used the occasion to threaten North Korea with "total" destruction (a remark critics denounced as 'genocidal'), ponder a "military option" in Venezuela, and boast about the stock market.
Social media, of course, had a field day with Trump's Venezuela remarks, which many characterized as a "please clap" moment for the ages.
"The problem is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented" pic.twitter.com/NvyD13AMxi
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) September 19, 2017
for a guy who says he cares about results, not ideology, Trump’s sure talking a lot about socialism as a fatally flawed ideology
— Katherine Krueger (@kath_krueger) September 19, 2017
As a Scandinavian.. I just learned that I'm living under suppressive regime. I guess I learned it just now, due our bad education #UNGA
— Oilinki Phuket (@oilinki) September 19, 2017
Trump: "socialism has been faithfully implemented." Holds for applause. Gets awkward laughter from a lot of...happy socialists
— Chris Baugh (@chris_baugh_) September 19, 2017