Trump has few friends on the international stage, but as his closest foreign confidant, Emmanuel Macron, might say: Au contraire, Monsieur President.
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any other administration in the history of our country. So true,” Trump told the UNGA on Tuesday morning. It’s a standard Trump line, which he usually delivers in front of two primary audiences: supporters who believe it, and reporters who just scoff and shake their head, knowing it’s not true.
The delegates at the UN were neither so supportive nor so jaded, and they openly laughed at him. Trump rolled with it. “Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay,” he said, eliciting another round of chortling. Still, the reaction had to sting. This is, after all, the same man who tweeted about Obama:
We need a President who isn’t a laughing stock to the entire World. We need a truly great leader, a genius at strategy and winning. Respect!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2014
The figurative laughter of 2014 has become the literal laughter of 2018. Perhaps there is a silver lining, though. In an age when the United States is withdrawing from the world stage, allies are saying they cannot rely on Washington’s word, and U.S. soft power is at its lowest ebb in the post–World War II era, the tittering in Turtle Bay is an indication that America can still unite the global community, if only in giggles.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.