UNITED NATIONS — U.S. President Donald Trump says he long ago recognized the promise of the United Nations when he chose a spot across the street to build a residential tower.
“I actually saw great potential right across the street, to be honest with you,” Trump told leaders gathered to support overhauling the U.N. system.
“It was only for the reason that the United Nations was here that it turned out to be such a successful project,” he said referencing his Trump World Tower, which sits across from the U.N. complex.
The American president made his U.N. debut Monday, speaking at a U.S.-hosted meeting on reforming how the world body is managed, which was held on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly.
“We encourage the secretary-general to fully use his authority to cut through bureaucracy, reform outdated systems, and make firm decisions to advance the U.N.’s core mission,” Trump said. He added that the focus should be more on results than process.
The United Nations, with its multibillion-dollar annual budget, numerous peacekeeping missions and bloated staff, has been a target of Trump’s criticism for years.
“To honor the people of our nations, we must ensure that no one and no member state shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden, and that’s militarily or financially,” the president added.
The United States is the U.N.’s largest single donor, contributing more than $600 million last year to the regular budget of more than $2.5 billion. Washington also contributes more than $2 billion annually to support U.N. peacekeeping missions, and hundreds of millions more to vital programs, including the U.N. Children’s Fund and the World Food Program.