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September 25, 2018

Trump Abandons American Values at UN

New York City—In response to President Donald Trump’s speech at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Human Rights First’s Senior Vice President for Policy Rob Berschinski issued the following statement:

The values that President Trump described today in his speech would be unrecognizable to those Americans who helped establish the United Nations to ensure international peace and security in the wake of World War II. President Trump’s overly-simplistic and distorted view of “sovereignty” will be music to the ears of authoritarian leaders from Moscow to Beijing. His attacks on the U.N. Human Rights Council and International Criminal Court amount to saying that the United States is no longer in the business of improving flawed international bodies, and will be seen by mass-murderers like Syria's Bashar al Assad and Burma’s military leaders as a boon.

President Trump's emphatic rejection of the Global Compact on Migration is yet another indication that this administration will not lead internationally when it comes to solving hard, transnational problems. Even in praising those states, like Jordan, that are bearing the brunt of the global flow of refugees, Trump managed to hide behind the work of others to mask administration policies that are harming the most vulnerable.

What we heard today from President Trump diverges wildly from American values and interests as expressed by a long line of previous presidents of both political parties. Gone is both Kennedy's pledge to “bear any burden” and Reagan’s call to “tear down this wall.” Gone are appeals to the "better angels of our nature.” As should surprise no one at this point in the Trump Administration, what the president of the United States presented to the world this morning wasn’t so much an articulation of American values as a rejection of what has made this country both great and good.  

For more information or to speak with Berschinski, contact Christopher Plummer at PlummerC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3310.