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At This Hour
Trump Addresses the U.N. General Assembly; Trump Praises North Korea's "Encouraging Measures" While Criticizing China; Trump: More Iran Sanctions to Come after November. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired September 25, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That is why we congratulate the European states such as Poland for leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline so that nations are not dependent on Russia to meet their energy needs.
Germany will become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course.
Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers. It has been the formal policy of our country since President Monroe that we reject the interference of foreign nations in this hemisphere and in our own affairs.
The United States has recently strengthened our laws to better screen foreign investments in our country for national security threats. And we welcome cooperation with countries in this region and around the world that wish to do the same. You need to do it for your own protection.
The United States is also working with partners in Latin America to confront threats to sovereignty from uncontrolled migration. Tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling and trafficking is not humane; it's a horrible thing that's going on at levels that nobody is ever seen before. It's very, very cruel.
Illegal immigration funds criminal networks, ruthless gangs and the flow of deadly drugs. Illegal immigration exploits vulnerable populations, hurts hard-working citizens and has produced a vicious cycle of crime, violence and poverty.
Only by upholding national borders, destroying criminal gangs, can we break this cycle and establish a real foundation for prosperity.
We recognize the right of every nation in this room to set its own immigration policy in accordance with its national interests, just as we ask other countries to respect our own right to do the same, which we are doing.
That is one reason the United States will not participate in the new global compact on migration. Migration should not be governed by an international body unaccountable to our own citizens. Ultimately, the only long-term solution to the migration crisis is to help people build more hopeful futures in their home countries; make their countries great again.
Currently we are witnessing a human tragedy, as an example, in Venezuela. More than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the socialist Maduro regime and its Cuban sponsors.
Not long ago, Venezuela was one of the richest countries on Earth. Today, socialism has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty.
Virtually everywhere socialism or communism has been tried, it has produced suffering, corruption and decay. Socialism's thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion and oppression. All nations of the world should resist the socialism and the misery that it brings to everyone.
In that spirit, we ask the nations gathered here to join us in calling for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. Today we are announcing additional sanctions against the repressive regime, targeting Maduro's inner circle and close advisers.
We are grateful for all of the work the United Nations does around the world to help people build better lives for themselves and their families.
[11:05:00] The United States is the world's largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid, but few give anything to us. That is why we are taking a hard look at U.S. foreign assistance. That will be headed up by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We will examine what is working, what is not working, and whether the countries who receive our dollars and our protection also have our interests at heart.
Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. And we expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.
The United States is committed to making the United Nations more effective and accountable. I have said many times that the United Nations has unlimited potential.
As part of our reform effort, I have told our negotiators that the United States will not pay more than 25 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping budget. This will encourage other countries to step up, get involved and also share in this very large burden.
And we are working to shift more of our funding from assessed contributions to voluntary, so that we can target American resources to the programs with the best record of success.
Only when each of us does our part and contributes our share, can we realize the U.N.'s highest aspirations. We must pursue peace without fear, hope without despair, and security without apology.
Looking around this hall where so much history has transpired, we think of the many before us who have come here to address the challenges of their nations and of their times. And our thoughts turn to the same question that ran through all their speeches and resolutions, through every word and every hope. It is the question of what kind of world will we leave for our children, and what kind of nations they will inherit.
The dreams that fill this hall today are as diverse as the people who have stood at this podium, and as varied as the countries represented right here in this body are. It really is something. It really is great, great history.
There is India, a free society, over a billion people, successfully lifting countless millions out of poverty and into the middle class.
There is Saudi Arabia, where King Salman and the crown prince are pursuing bold new reforms.
There is Israel, proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary as a thriving democracy in the Holy Land.
In Poland, a great people are standing up for their independence, their security and their sovereignty.
Many countries are pursuing their own unique visions, building their own hopeful futures, and chasing their own wonderful dreams of destiny, of legacy and of a home.
The whole world is richer, humanity is better because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique and each shining brightly in its part of the world.
In each one, we see awesome promise of a people bound together by a shared past and working toward a common future.
As for Americans, we know what kind of future we want for ourselves. We know what kind of a nation America must always be.
In America, we believe in the majesty of freedom and the dignity of the individual. We believe in self-government and the rule of law. And we prize the culture that sustains our liberty. It's a culture built on strong families, deep faith and fierce independence. We celebrate our heroes. We treasure our traditions. And above all, we love our country.
Inside everyone in this great chamber today and everyone listening all around the globe, there is the heart of a patriot that feels the same powerful love for your nation, the same intense loyalty to your homeland. The passion that burns in the hearts of patriots and the souls of nations has inspired reform and revolution, sacrifice and selflessness, scientific breakthroughs and magnificent works of art.
Our task is not to erase it, but to embrace it, to build with it, to draw on its ancient wisdom and to find within it the will to make our nations greater, our regions safer and the world better.
To unleash this incredible potential in our people, we must defend the foundations that make it all possible. Sovereign and independent nations are the only vehicle where freedom has ever survived, democracy has ever endured or peace has ever prospered. And so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all.
When we do, we will find new avenues for cooperation unfolding before us; we will find new passion for peacemaking rising within us; we will find new purpose, new resolve and new spirit flourishing all around us and making this a more beautiful world in which to live.
So together, let us choose a future of patriotism, prosperity and pride. Let us choose peace and freedom over domination and defeat. And let us come here to this place to stand for our people and their nations, forever strong, forever sovereign, forever just and forever thankful for the grace and the goodness and the glory of God.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the nations of the world.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
[11:13:16] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On behalf of the General Assembly, I wish to thank the president of the United States of America for the statement just made. May I request representatives to remain seated while we --
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you for joining us.
What we have been watching right there is President Trump delivering his second address to world leaders before the United Nations General Assembly. And quite an address it was.
Let's get right to it because I have a lot to discuss. Let me bring in, first, CNN chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour, with me.
Christiane, I was keeping a running list of who was criticized in his speech, and it's long. I heard probably compliments for North Korea. That's really where I heard his praise today. What was your reaction? What do you make of this?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: To be fair, compliments to India, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Poland, too.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Countries he's visited. But here's the thing. This was about sovereignty. He kept saying it over and over again. The president appears to associate sovereignty with isolationism. In other words, he doesn't believe, at least according to his speech, that all countries can be sovereign and still be part of a multilateral world. He believes, it seems from this speech, that to reject globalism, as he said, and to adopt patriotism, as he explained and urged everyone else, means just being for yourself. He said make their countries great again. He's trying to pursue his policy to the rest of the world. But it doesn't all add up because he rejects globalism and then he praises India for raising a billion people out of poverty. Only globalization was able to do that. He says he rejects --
BOLDUAN: And it's not exclusive.
AMANPOUR: Sovereignty and multilateralism --
[11:15:00] AMANPOUR: -- are not mutually exclusive. This is the big situation that I think he's somewhat confused about. He rejected foreign aid. He said he's going to only give it to our friends and to people who respect us. That's a total change from what the United States has done before because it's tried to use foreign aid to pursue and embrace their own foreign policy goals. He's very upset. He said not good about OPEC, right?
AMANPOUR: Raising oil prices. But it's not OPEC raising oil prices. As an oil expert said to me, when the president removes a billion and a half barrels a day, for instance, from Iran by putting the sanctions on, what happens? Supply goes down, prices go up. That's what's causing right now the prices to go up. And on and on, these sort of inconsistencies. But he also swapped out last year's fiery rhetoric against North Korea for against Iran this time.
And Jim Sciutto -- Jim Sciutto is here with me as well.
Jim, whereas, last year there was "fire and fury" and we'll totally destroy you or "Little Rocket Man" on North Korea, along with Iran -- and we'll get to Iran in a second -- another country that faced a lot of criticism from the president this time was China.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No question. The fact is the president is right on China here, right? He calls China out for stealing intellectual property, which China does aggressively. It has done for years. We've had cyberattacks by both governments on U.S. companies. He calls China out for making territorial claims that are not based on the law. They up and built unsinkable aircraft carriers, as they're known, in the South China Sea, outside of U.S. law. What is interesting on this is the world is uncomfortable with the trade war, no questions, tariffs, et cetera. But on challenging China on these activities, the president has support. What's happening from China -- and I have been speaking to Chinese diplomats on this. Early on, they thought this was a short- term political play by this president. They could wait it out. Yes, he's going to make these promises, et cetera. They're adjusting now. You now hear Chinese business leaders and others speaking in terms of a decades-long trade war. It's a major adjustment. And the president has forced China to change its view on this issue.
BOLDUAN: And they have a big meeting coming up in November. So let's see what happens then.
Let me bring in also chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.
Dana, what was your kind of what was your takeaway? It's interesting to see the president standing up there addressing world leaders. You know the domestic politics have to be in the back of his mind. He can't get away from it at every turn. What did you think of, I don't know, his change of tone with North Korea? Not surprising because we know how he's been talking. But what do you make of it here?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. It's hard to believe it was only a year ago that he called Kim Jong-Un Rocket Man at that very same podium.
One of the things that strikes me in covering Congress, where the money is approved and appropriated to give to countries around the world, is the very clear change in tone, maybe not for his tone, but in terms of America's view on foreign aid and foreign assistance. He made it clear that it should be transactional. America will only spend money in places that does good for America. Now, it's one thing to say, you know, that America will donate money, will give money for friends. But it made it sound like it goes further. We want something in return. And historically, at least in the last, you know, many decades, the last generation-plus, maybe since World War II, there has been more to foreign aid than that. It has been altruistic. It has been to help the patriots that the president talked about in countries who feel like they can't get a leg up, and a whole host of other reasons. That was a really clear shift in the way America approaches that.
The other thing that I just want to mention is Russia. Because the president didn't. The only --
BOLDUAN: Yes, the only mention, that's right.
BASH: The only time that the word Russia crossed his lips was as a little bit of a backhanded slight to Germany for getting its energy from Russia, which is a whole different question. The fact that he's upset about the pipeline that's being built there. Nothing about what Russia is doing in Syria, what Russia is doing and in the threat that the neighbors of Russia think that it poses there. Never mind, in this country, in the United States, the fact that his own intelligence agencies have said very clearly that they are seeing evidence that Russia is once again trying to meddle in America's election. That was completely absent from the speech.
BOLDUAN: Especially when the major theme is sovereignty and threats to sovereignty --
BOLDUAN: -- and the fact that is not part of it is pretty glaring.
Susan Glasser is here. She's CNN global affairs analyst and staff writer for the "New Yorker."
Susan, on North Korea, really quickly, what difference did this year make, do you think, from last year's speech to this? We know obviously summits have happened. The president today saying -- thanking Kim for his courage and the steps they have taken. Do you see the progress though?
[11:20:20] SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you know, it's very interesting. I think in the speech today, you see clearly that President Trump has a highly personalized view of diplomacy, and that's why, as Christiane put it, he praised the countries which he's visited and leaders that he interacted with. And you know, he's announced repeatedly in the last couple weeks that he's planning and wants to have a second man-to-man summit meeting with Kim Jong-Un, the leader of North Korea. And it seems that for Trump, it's the great relationship, as he calls it himself, that really overrides any substantive questions about what kind of progress has been made. My reporting among administration officials suggests they're much more skeptical privately about whether North Korea really has the desire to denuclearize, as Trump has already proclaimed. In many ways, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has a very difficult job, as one expert put it to me recently, of trying to negotiate the things Trump already claims have been negotiated.
But I thought -- the speech started with this remarkable moment, right? That for decades, President Trump, before he was president, has claimed the whole world is laughing at us. Then he gets up there and he begins his U.N. speech, only a second time in this audience, as if it's a campaign rally. And he seemed genuinely surprised when, after bragging that his administration in less than two years had done more than any administration in the history of the United States, that people actually laughed at him.
GLASSER: I have never seen that.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely not.
And let me play that moment, because it absolutely was a startling one. As Susan says, this is right off the top of his speech. The president saying something that he says often here, you know, in political rallies, from the Rose Garden. But just listen how it played at the U.N.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: My administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America's -- so true.
Didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: It was pretty extraordinary.
GLASSER: Well, again, you know, I think President Trump is really, in recent months, taken to addressing only extremely friendly venues. He's traveling around the country, as you know right now, in advance of the midterm elections giving a series of campaign-style rallies. He seemed really unused to an audience that would be more skeptical. But if you go to the United Nations General Assembly and you say that you're against globalism, you know, you're not necessarily in the most friendly of audiences, first of all. Second of all, you know, throughout the speech, he made a little joke there after they laughed at him, but throughout the speech, it's really striking the extent to which the president brings a sense of grievance to the world stage. The idea that the United States is being ripped off by OPEC, the idea that trade deals are not necessarily favorable to us and have to be renegotiated, that foreign aid, as Dana put it, needs to be much more transactional and only conditioned on whether you're our friend or not. Those are not words that this audience is used to hearing from a president of the United States. It's really a stark shift in tone. And arguably, it's actually a more hardline speech this year than it was last year, even though the rhetoric toward North Korea is much more friendly in general. I would say this reflects the fact that you have a more hardline series of advisers now around the president, such as John Bolton, as his national security adviser.
BOLDUAN: That's a fascinating point.
Christiane, I want to drill down on Iran. He laid into Iran. I mean, eviscerating, essentially, the leadership, chaos, destruction, death, in talking about in his speech. You sat down with the president of Iran and asked him about this -- well, asked him about a lot, but the clip want to play is about this back and forth meeting, no meeting, a lovely man. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The president of the United States has tweeted this morning saying that, "Despite repeated requests" -- I think he means your requests -- "he has no plans to meet you. Maybe some time in the future." And he thinks maybe you're a lovely man. That's what he says in the tweet. What do you make of that? Have you requested a meeting with President Trump?
[11:24:52] HASSAN ROUHANI, IRAN PRESIDENT (through translation): Not this year. Nor last year. We have never made such a request for a meeting with the president of the United States. Of course, last year, from American officials, we received eight requests for a meeting. And I did not see that as being an appropriate meeting, as I do not see it as being appropriate now. And a meeting must take place at a time when that meeting can serve a purpose, can be beneficial, can serve the benefits of both countries. But under the current conditions, when it comes to a meeting and dialogue, I do not see it as beneficial, nor appropriate. But you should ask him who made such requests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, apart from who made such requests, we have got the very serious issue of a deal that was designed to reduce dramatically the threat of nuclear proliferation. The United States has pulled out of it. And the president said that most in the Middle East supported his decision to pull out of that deal. It's not quite true. It is true that the alliance of anti-Iranians do support it, whether it's Bibi Netanyahu's government, whether it's the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the UAE. That coalition supports that because they think that they can achieve regime change in Iran. But the rest of the world, including Russia and China and the Europeans, and everybody else, are desperately trying to figure out some, as I have been told, new mechanism to keep the deal somehow alive, despite American sanctions, secondary sanctions on European and other countries that do business with Iran. So the Iranians have yet again been certified as complying with it. And, yes, of course, there are issues about ballistic missiles, about interference in Syria, about Hezbollah, about all of those things, terrorism, but those will never be addressed in this deal, according to the Iranian president. He said that we are not going to reopen or renegotiate, these are issues that should be talked about but this deal is a separate deal. Whereas, he explained yesterday that this deal was a win-win when it was signed -- and it's been in effect for three years -- now he believes and he says the U.S. has done -- is now into a lose-lose situation. The world will lose, the U.S. will lose, the Iranians will lose by not having this deal and by imposing these sanctions. And that, you know, they hope that somehow they can keep this deal alive. Because it's not sure how long they're going to stick with it if sanctions are imposed on it.
BOLDUAN: Very important, what she's laying out, these huge issues with worldwide impact. Why is it, then, that this morning, on Twitter, over the weekend, something that -- I don't know, it seems so small, something like the obsession of who requested the meeting or not coming from the president. Why do you think that matters to him?
SCIUTTO: Listen, I think he likes to keep us in the world on edge with this. The contradiction in his rhetoric, even before he gave this speech there, as he entered the United Nations an hour after sending a tweet saying that the Iranian president is a lovely man, he said, no way, you know, a meeting is off the table. Then the change in rhetoric from the podium there before the U.N., calling them in effect a despicable dictatorship, that's quite a contradiction. And, listen, Donald Trump has been comfortable with those contradictions before, right? It was not long after his fiery rhetoric last year at the U.N. General Assembly that he sat down just a few months later with the leader of North Korea.
The other point I would make is this. Sovereignty, that word is a very powerful word. He used the same word and made the same argument last year before the U.N. G.A. That's a word typically used by countries such as China to push back against any interference, they call it, in their internal affairs, any criticism of their human rights record, for instance. Their basic argument is, listen, let us do what we want to do abroad.
(CROSSTALK) SCIUTTO: You do us. Which the president has allowed space for, right? He does not, for instance, bring up North Korea's despicable human rights record at home. He does not tweet about Russia attacking and imprisoning protesters, et cetera, as he reaches out for a friendlier relationship. So that word sovereignty, it has a lot of meaning in this context, and will frankly be welcomed on those terms by those countries
SCIUTTO: -- which is an enormous departure from U.S. foreign policy in the past.
AMANPOUR: Yes, but, also, E.U. and those countries have sovereignty, the right to deal with who they want to trade with. They believe that President Trump is violating their sovereignty by putting secondary sanctions on --
SCIUTTO: Doesn't show principled consistency, right?
AMANPOUR: This is not just an agreement between the United States and Iran and the others. This is a U.N.-enshrined legal treaty -- not a treaty of the U.S., but a U.N.-enshrined Security Council resolution binding deal.
[11:30:03] BOLDUAN: The president handled the laughter well, I would say, in that moment in the hall. I do wonder what it means maybe when it sets in a little later. Watch your Twitter feeds.
Thank you, guys. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much.