19 September 2017

Trump's unusual UN speech

By John Mecklin

In an address to the United Nations that was roundly criticized in legacy and social media and by many in the US political establishment, President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea and continued his unusual attempt to brand the leader of North Korea as “Rocket Man.”

The language used in the speech drew a rebuke from the Washington Post’s “Right Turn” blogger Jennifer Rubin (who, it should be noted, offers “reported opinion from a conservative perspective”) that is worth quoting in its entirety:

[H]is language is so cringe-worthy as to lower the status and prestige of the United States on the international stage. He quite simply sounds like a child when he says, “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.” He is incapable of leaving lingo for low-information voters behind, even when it risks creating doubts about his own maturity and stability. Vowing to “utterly destroy” North Korea if it does not give up is weapons is a reality TV star’s image of how powerful leaders talk. In practice, it comes across as cartoonish.

In the alternative news universe that Fox News inhabits, the take on the speech was decidedly more positive, with Fox executive editor John Moody writing, “It’s hard to imagine Donald Trump presenting a more direct, focused and needed speech than the one he gave at the United Nations. Sticking to teleprompter, he told the world body it was not doing its job. He also called out some of its bad actor members, in particular North Korea, which he baldly threatened with total destruction.”

The Breitbart site—home to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and his nationalist views—also praised the president’s speech:  “[R]eportedly drafted by adviser Stephen Miller—one of the few remaining economic nationalists in the administration and the adviser responsible for Trump’s similarly strong speech in July—[it] was a return to form and a speech likely to meet with approval from Trump’s ‘America First’ base.”

But it was Trump’s hometown newspaper—which he regularly and falsely claims is failing—that had what I considered the most thorough and even-handed of the reams of instant analysis the Trump speech elicited. Other media might take note of the last four words of the headline on the New York Times piece and make sure they include them in their future reportage: “Trump Vows to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea if It Threatens U.S.”

Publication Name: 
New York Times