Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump attends a United Nations event on Religious Freedom at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 23, 2019

President Donald Trump attends a United Nations event on Religious Freedom at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 23, 2019, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Turning Back on Climate Summit, Trump Hosts 'Religious Freedom' Session at UN

"It's most importantly a snub to the young people pleading for action on climate change."

Andrea Germanos

President Donald Trump on Monday affirmed his stance as a climate villain by leading a United Nations session on "religious freedom" instead of a major event focused on the global climate crisis in the same building.

The president's move drew scorn on Twitter:

Trump's session overlaps with the day-long U.N. Climate Action Summit. Trump's special session began at 11:30 am, shortly after Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg gave a powerful speech at the summit demanding world leaders take swift action to tackle the climate crisis.

Trump's event, a senior administration official said Friday, "seeks to highlight and broaden international support for protecting religious freedom in the wake of increasing persecution of people on the basis of their own beliefs and faiths, and a growing number of attacks on and destruction of houses of worship, religious sites, and relics by state and nonstate actors."  The president did, however, pop in to the climate event. "President Donald Trump was not scheduled to attend," ABC News reported, "but showed up unexpectedly Monday morning."

But David Waskow, director of the International Climate Initiative at the World Resources Institute, said Trump's event hightlight something different.

"It's most importantly a snub to the young people pleading for action on climate change," Waskow told The Guardian. "Donald Trump has made very clear internationally and domestically he has no interest in the science or this issue. It's up to the rest of the world to get on with its business."

The Trump adminstration has also been accused of using the banner of "religious freedom" to carry out discriminatory attacks on healthcare, children's right to loving homes, and educational options for all students.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Medicare for All Advocates Take to the Streets of Over 50 US Cities

"How can we have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when we live in constant fear of illness, bankruptcy, or homelessness because of the outrageous for-profit healthcare system?"

Jessica Corbett ·


Thousands Join Budapest Pride Parade to Protest Attacks on LGBTQ+ Hungarians

"A lot has happened over the last few years, and it's time to show that we're not okay with it," said one of the organizers.

Jessica Corbett ·


US Lawmakers Demand $34 Billion for Global Vaccine Equity Funding in Reconciliation Package

"No investment in the fight against Covid-19 is more urgent and cost-effective now than an investment in getting the world vaccinated as quickly as possible."

Jessica Corbett ·


Ilhan Omar Demands Answers After First Somalia Airstrike of Biden Era

"It is critical that we realize we are not going to simply drone the al-Shabaab problem to death," the Somali-American congresswoman asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Huge Legal Win': Court Stops Police From Blockading Line 3 Protester Camp

One attorney described the blockade as "an outrageous abuse of law enforcement authority serving the interests of the Enbridge corporation against its environmental opponents."

Kenny Stancil ·