President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned the United Nations that the world faces “great peril” from gathering threats posed by rogue regimes with powerful weapons and terrorists with expanding reach across the globe, issuing a call to fellow leaders to join the United States in the fight to defeat them.
“We meet at a time of immense promise and great peril,” Trump said in his maiden address to more than 150 international delegations at the annual U.N. General Assembly. “It is up to us whether we will lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.”
The president’s address was highly anticipated around the world for signs of how his administration would engage with the U.N. after he had criticized the organization during his campaign as being bloated and ineffective. Trump offered a hand to fellow leaders but also called on them to embrace “national sovereignty” and to do more to ensure the prosperity and security of their own countries.
“I will always put America first just like you, the leaders of your countries, should put your countries first,” Trump said.
The president warned of growing threats from North Korea and Iran, and he said, “The scourge of our planet is a group of rogue regimes.” He praised the U.N. for enacting economic sanctions on Pyongyang, but he also said that if Kim Jong Un’s regime continued to threaten the United States and its allies and destabilize East Asia, his administration would be prepared to defend the country.
“We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said, before calling Kim by a nickname he gave the dictator on Twitter over the weekend. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.”
Trump added, “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.”
Trump also called the U.N.-backed Iran nuclear deal “an embarrassment” to the United States and hinted that his administration could soon declare Tehran out of compliance. “I don’t think you’ve heard the end of it,” he said.
Trump opened his address by thanking those in the room whose governments had offered support and resources to help the United States in the recovery from a pair of recent hurricanes that damaged Florida, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.