NEW YORK—National security adviser John Bolton held up his copy of the Constitution as he previewed the speech President Donald Trump will deliver at the 73rd U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25.
The speech, Bolton said, will be a continuation on last year’s theme of sovereignty,
“We express our sovereignty through the Constitution, through our political process, it’s why that is so important,” Bolton said. “And it’s why we believe—and of course, I’m speaking in secular terms here—that the Constitution is the highest authority we recognize.”
He said Americans understand sovereignty as the framers of the Constitution put it: We the People.
“We the people are sovereign in America. So that infringements on our sovereignty are not infringements on abstractions or infringements on the government. They’re an infringement on the people themselves,” Bolton said.
Bolton, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, held a press conference for the White House press corps on Sept. 24.
Haley listed the global pacts that the United States has pulled out of in the last year since Trump’s first U.N. speech, including the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Global Compact.
“And all of that is to say that the United States is determined to obviously be involved in multilateral organizations where we see it, but not in the way that they’re mandated on what the United States does or that infringes on the American people,” Haley said.
She said that in 2017, the United States was figuring out what its presence would be at the U.N., while this year, “we’re here with a bang. It’s all hands on deck by the United States.”
Sovereignty Theme Continued
Last year at the General Assembly, Trump laid out his vision for the world on the premise that strong, independent nations promote security, prosperity, and peace for themselves and for the world.
“We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government,” he said. “But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation. This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is foundation for cooperation and success.”
Trump brought up the Constitution as the guiding document, domestically and internationally.
“In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens—to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values,” he said.
“As president of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first.”
He also preempted his intent to rebalance the “one-sided” deals where the United States “gets nothing in return.” Since that speech, he has stood his ground on NATO funding as well as several key trade deals, including with the European Union, South Korea, and Mexico and Canada.
North Korea, Syria, Iran
In his first appearance at the U.N. as America’s top diplomat, Pompeo called the week “the Super Bowl of diplomacy.”
He said North Korea, Syria, and Iran will all be on the agenda.
“You can bet the president will have well-deserved strong words for the Iranian regime, which is among the worst of violators of U.N. Security Council resolutions, if not the absolute worst in the world. He’ll call on every country to join our pressure campaign in order to thwart Iran’s global torrent of destructive activity,” Pompeo said.
“Whether it’s Venezuela, South Sudan, Syria, Burma, China, the estimated 2.5 million victim—excuse me, 25 million victims of modern slavery around the world can also count on America’s support. Today is shaping up as a great first day.”
Pompeo said he will talk to the Russian contingent on “many topics,” including the country’s recent move to send S-300 missiles to Syria.
“We’re trying to find every place we can where there is common ground, where we can work with the Russians,” he said. “We’re finding lots of places where they’re working against American interest, and we will hold them accountable for so doing.”
Pompeo reiterated that Pastor Andrew Brunson and other Americans being held prisoner in Turkey should be released “today” and that he will push this week for their release.
He said talks with North Korea are ongoing on many different fronts and the United States is not ready to throw in the towel on denuclearization. A second meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un is currently being worked out.
“If we can continue to make progress and have conversations, I think there’s enormous value in that,” he said.
On Iran, Bolton said the expectation is “massive changes in their behavior.”
“And until that happens, we will continue to exert what the President has called ‘maximum pressure.’ That’s what we intend to do,” Bolton said.
Over the three full days he is in New York, Trump has a raft of meetings with heads of state planned, starting with a dinner on Sept. 23 with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Trump hosted a meeting earlier in the day on Sept. 24 to announce that 130 member nations signed on to a global action compact on the drug crisis.
He will sign the U.S.–Korea Free Trade Agreement with South Korea President Moon Jae-in in the afternoon, before bilateral meetings with both Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and French President Emmanuel Macron.
On Sept. 25, Trump will address the General Assembly before meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. After a luncheon hosted by Guterres, Trump will have a pull-aside with the president of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa and then attend a reception with Haley.
On Sept. 26, Trump will chair the Security Council briefing, where the topic is counter-proliferation “and the need for responsible nations to stop the spread of weapons and technologies,” said Pompeo. North Korea, Syria, and Iran will all be discussed, he said.
Trump is also confirmed to meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Why did the US Leave the UN Human Rights Council
“We are withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, an organization that is not worthy of its name.”