NEW YORK — President Donald Trump is highlighting U.S. gains under his watch as he opens his address to the U.N. General Assembly.
Trump told leaders from around the world Tuesday the American economy is “booming like never before” and his administration has accomplished more in less than two years “than almost any administration in the history of our country”.
His boast elicited laughter from the scores of heads of state and delegates in the audience for the speech.
Trump responded by saying, “I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK.”
Trump says the U.S. is a “stronger, safer and richer country” than when he took office in January 2017. He says “we are standing up for America and for the American people, and we are also standing up for the world.”
Trump ran a bit late for his once-a-year speech at the U.N. General Assembly, forcing organizers to change the order of speakers.
Trump was scheduled to speak second at Tuesday’s session, after Brazilian President Michel Temer. Instead, Temer’s speech was followed by an awkward pause as U.N. officials prepared the podium to accommodate the No. 3 speaker, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno Garces, who is in a wheelchair.
Trump’s motorcade arrived during Moreno’s speech at the U.N. headquarters in New York. The White House did not immediately explain why Trump was late.
Earlier, Trump said he has no plans to meet this week with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “despite requests.”
Both leaders are attending an annual U.N. gathering in New York. Trump wasn’t specific in Tuesday’s tweet about the origin of the “requests” for a meeting.
But Rouhani also has ruled out meeting, telling NBC News on Monday conditions are not ripe for talks. The Iranian leader accuses the U.S. of adopting a hostile stance toward his country.
Trump withdrew the U.S. from a nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers and reinstated economic sanctions on Iran. Trump says in the tweet that “Maybe someday in the future” he and Rouhani will meet.
Trump says: “I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!”
On Wednesday, Trump will chair for the first time a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the topic of counter-proliferation.
The four days of choreographed foreign affairs stand in contrast to wild twists and disorder in domestic politics, highlighted by the controversy over Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.