After making measured first remarks before the UN General Assembly on Monday, President Donald Trump’s Tuesday speech took some provocative — and awkward — turns.
In warning of the dangers of North Korea, Trump set an inflammatory tone by nicknaming its leader Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man,” and claimed if the U.S. “is forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” He also got in touch with his inner theologian, proclaiming that some nations in the midst of conflict were “going to hell.”
But it was Trump’s attack on socialism that created the most awkward moment of his speech before the General Assembly. In referencing the Venezuelan crisis and singling out Cuba, Trump said socialism only brought “anguish and devastation and failure,” though it’s not clear if he fully grasps socialism or whether he was taking a dig at the push for single-payer healthcare in the U.S. led by Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.
Then, Trump said that “the problem is not that socialism has been wrongly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.”
He paused and waited for applause, but was met with near silence and more than a few chuckles from his international audience.
Pres. Trump: "Problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented." pic.twitter.com/r1ZLhGt7Px
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 19, 2017
People took notice of the awkward moment.
Awkward moment: Trump utters weak line about socialism. Pauses for applause which doesn't come. Tepid claps arise from the rear of the room.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) September 19, 2017
Lol Trump just left in a super long pause waiting for applause on a line slamming socialism
— Conor Beck (@cb0321) September 19, 2017
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) September 19, 2017
People laughing at Trump's remarks on failures of "socialism." Unclear who.
— Oren Kessler (@OrenKessler) September 19, 2017
After Trump’s “Socialism” remark at the UN the camera catches most members laughing at him.
Trump pauses and doesn’t look too happy.
— Gaslighting A Nation (@Gaslit_Nation) September 19, 2017
Watch a longer clip showing the length of Trump’s pause, as well as smiles from UN officials. A close listen reveals the quiet laughter in the audience.
It’s worth noting that the Scandinavian countries, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, have socialistic policies — such as universal health care — that are considered by many to be incredibly successful.
The U.S. delegation, including U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson didn’t look too pleased with Trump’s remarks either.
Is it just me or does the U.S delegation look concerned during Trump’s UN speech? pic.twitter.com/1g6Ez0e6Vw
— Anthony De Rosa 🗽 (@Anthony) September 19, 2017