Trump, facing impeachment calls, delivers warning to globalists at UN

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE, facing growing calls for impeachment from Democrats over the evolving Ukraine controversy, on Tuesday promoted the benefits of isolationism and patriotism to a gathering of international leaders at the United Nations.

Trump urged attendees to put their countries first as the world faces an array of challenges, equating freedom to taking pride in one's country.

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“The truth is plain to see — if you want freedom, take pride in your country. If you want democracy, hold onto your sovereignty, and if you want peace, love your nation,” Trump said at United Nations headquarters.

“Wise leaders always put the good of their own people and their own country first,” Trump continued. “The future does not belong to globalists, the future belongs to patriots. The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations who protect their citizens, respect their neighbors, and honor the differences that make each country special and unique.” 

Tuesday’s address took place under the cloud of impeachment talk surrounding the White House. 

Moments before his speech, Trump acknowledged he had withheld aid from Ukraine, arguing that he did so because he wanted to see other countries make commitments.

The president has in recent days acknowledged he raised Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE during a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. News outlets have reported that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the former vice president's son, Hunter Biden. Trump has defended the phone call as appropriate while doubling down on the accusations Biden’s family engaged in corrupt behavior, without providing any evidence. 

Trump’s speech remained on script and made no mention of the growing furor, but it is likely to attract attention for the rest of the summit. Trump will meet Wednesday with Zelensky on the sidelines of the U.N., and he will hold a press conference before departing for a fundraiser.

The president touched on the U.S. economy, China, Iran, immigration, socialism and love of country. It carried many of the same hallmarks as his typical campaign addresses, but lacked much of the same enthusiasm or vigor. The president maintained an even monotone throughout the 35-minute address, which was met with applause from those in the room.

Trump touted domestic achievements of his administration, taking credit for U.S. economic growth and proclaimed that American jobs are “being produced at a historic rate.” 

But on key global issues, Trump spoke largely through a lens of isolationism. While global leaders have stressed the need to combat climate change, Trump boasted of gains in U.S. energy production.

As the world grapples with how to address mass migration, Trump condemned those who support “open borders” as promoting policies that are “cruel and evil.”

“Mass illegal migration is unfair, unsafe and unsustainable for everyone involved,” he said. 

Trump spoke extensively about his efforts on trade, focusing heavily on China and its intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices. Trump touted his trade war with Beijing as an effort to rein in misbehavior that past administrations have excused, even as critics have expressed wariness over the dispute’s impact on the global economy.  

“Hopefully we can reach an agreement that can be beneficial to both countries, but as I have made very clear, I will not accept a bad deal for the American people,” Trump said. 

He also dedicated a large portion of his speech to Iran, an area of difference between Trump and world leaders. The president decried the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal as “horrible” even as some in the room have actively worked to save it after the U.S. withdrew last year.

The president warned Iran against an escalation of malign activity in the Middle East. He noted that his administration had hammered the country with sanctions and would continue to do so until Tehran tangibly changed its behavior. 

Still, Trump underscored his willingness to broker better relations with countries traditionally viewed as “enemies” of the United States, something evidenced by the president’s meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris accuses Trump of being 'punked' by North Korea Kamala Harris: 'Donald Trump got punked' by North Korea MORE in hopes of brokering a deal to end the country’s nuclear program. 

“America is ready to embrace friendship with all who genuinely seek peace and respect,” Trump said. “The United States has never believed in permanent enemies.” 

Trump also defended his administration’s efforts to negotiate with the Afghan government and, until recently, the Taliban, in order to draw down U.S. forces in Afghanistan, telling the audience: “America’s goal is not to go with these endless wars.” 

Trump has had a complicated and at times adversarial relationship with the United Nations. His “America First” agenda has clashed with the multilateral ideals of the global body, and his rhetoric about the need for sovereignty and isolationism have marked a break with his predecessors and allies.

The Trump administration has notably broken with the U.N. on multiple occasions. The administration opted to leave the U.N. Human Rights Council over its treatment of Israel, and the president has downplayed North Korean missile tests that allies say violate a U.N. resolution.