Senior level officials previewed themes in Trump’s upcoming Tuesday speech and predicted Trump’s call for change will set the tone for U.S. involvement during a packed week of foreign policy.
“It is a new day at the U.N.,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday. “I think that the pleas he made in terms of trying to see change at the United Nations have been heard, and I think what we’ll do is see him respond to that.”
The president has taken a critical stance toward the international body in the past, saying the U.N. was inactive and disrespectful to the U.S., while being overly dependent on Washington.
He once described the 193-nation body as “a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.”
However, Haley said the days of the U.N. disrespecting the U.S. are over.
“What you are now seeing is the Israel bashing has become more balanced. You’ve got a United Nations that is action oriented, we’ve passed two resolutions on North Korea just in the last month. And you also have a United Nations that is moving toward reform,” she continued.
“We said we needed to get value for our dollar, and what we’re finding is that the international community is right there with us in support of reform,” she added.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also touched on Trump’s appeal to reform the body through promoting democratic values.
“The message he’s going to deliver in that speech is first he’s going to promote and advocate for the strength of democratic values. And he’s going to reinforce that it is those shared values that bind our alliances together and that have kept the world a stable place,” Tillerson said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said the president’s call for reform will focus on bureaucracy and accountability concerns.
“The president is going to say the United Nations can’t be effective unless it reforms its bureaucracy and unless it achieves a higher degree of accountability for member states,” McMaster said on ABC’s “This Week.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also spoke to Trump’s push to reform the body, but put an emphasis on the president’s goal to reaffirm American leadership.
“He will be promoting peace, he will be promoting prosperity, and the president will be promoting sovereignty and accountability,” Conway said on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends” on Sunday.
It is the president’s chance to present his “America first” stance to the global governing body.
“This country wants a leader who is tough on terrorism, is not going to coddle them, is not going to apologize for America around the world, and you’re going to see that through President Trump’s leadership at the United Nations General Assembly this week as well,” Conway said.