(ABC News) – President Donald Trump, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, was greeted with laughter when he touted his administration’s accomplishments in his much-anticipated address.
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished almost more than any other administration in the history of our country,” Trump said at the top of his speech, which prompted audible laughter in the hall.
“Didn’t expect that reaction but that’s OK,” he responded.
He said the United States is a “stronger, safer and richer country than when I took office.”
“We are standing up for America and the American people and we are also standing up for the world. This is great news for our citizens and for peace loving people everywhere,” he continued.
He rattled off his administration’s achievements and defended decisions that some in the international community have rebuked.
Calling out specific leaders for praise, criticism
He praised the progress he believes has been made with North Korea, thanking North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done.”
Trump famously mocked Kim at last year’s address, calling him a “rocket man.”
In Tuesday’s speech, Trump spoke about the “ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking” and said that any solution to the humanitarian strife in the region “must also address the brutal regime” Iran.
He called on all nations to isolate Iran — even as leaders from allies like Japan and France will sit with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani this week at the United Nations.
“Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction. They do not respect their neighbors or borders or the sovereign rights of nations,” Trump said. “Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond. The Iranian people are rightly outraged that their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars.”
He went on, “We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues and we ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.”
Trump pushed back against some of his other controversial foreign policy decisions, including moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and levying tariffs on China.
He said the embassy move was “another significant step forward in the Middle East. America’s policy of principled realism means we will not be held hostage.”
On the topic of tariffs, Trump said “China’s market distortions and the way they deal cannot be tolerated,” noting the tariffs on more than $200 billion in Chinese goods are an act of protectionism.
“America will never apologize for protecting its citizens,” he said.
Defending his team
One of the most controversial decisions announced by U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley this year was the U.S.’s withdrawal from the body’s human rights council. But Trump came to her defense in his speech today.
He said that the U.S. “warned that the UN Human Rights Council had become a grave embarrassment to this institution, shielding egregious human rights abusers while bashing America and its many friends. Our Ambassador Nikki Haley laid out a clear agenda for reform despite reported and repeated warnings. No actions at all were taken so the United States took the only responsible course.”
“We will not return until real reform is enacted,” he added.
As for The International Criminal Court, Trump said the body “claims near universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country.”
“America is governed by Americans,” he said, rejecting what he sees as an infringement on American sovereignty.
Additionally, he said that his administration is “taking a hard look at U.S. foreign assistance.”
“Moving forward we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us, and frankly, who are our friends,” he said.