Donald Trump has delivered a sharp rebuke of multinational authority at the United Nations, drawing headshakes and even laughter from fellow world leaders as he boasted of America’s economic and military might.
The US president arrived late, forcing a last-minute scheduling switch, then received polite applause but also blank stares as he took his blustery brand of “America First” policies to the annual General Assembly.
Speaking in triumphant terms, he approached the address as an annual report to the world on his country’s progress since his inauguration.
He crowed that in “less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country”.
Rather than applaud or indicate they were impressed, the audience began to chuckle and some broke into outright laughter.
Mr Trump appeared briefly flustered before joking that it was not the reaction he expected but “that’s all right”.
The moment reinforced Mr Trump’s isolation among allies and foes alike, as his nationalistic policies have created rifts with former partners and cast doubt in some circles about the reliability of American commitments around the world.
Mr Trump seized his opportunity to assert American independence from the international body.
He was unapologetic about his decisions to engage with the one-time pariah North Korea, remove the US from the international Iran nuclear accord and object to UN programmes he believes are contrary to American interests.
“We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism,” he said.
He referenced a long list of UN initiatives, from the International Criminal Court to the Human Rights Council, that his administration is working to undermine.
“As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy and no authority,” he said.
The US is boycotting the Human Rights Council, arguing it overlooks abuses by some and serves as a venue for anti-American and anti-Israeli action.
His denunciation of globalism drew murmurs from a room that stands as the embodiment of the notion.
Other tense moments included his criticism of Germany’s pursuit of a direct energy pipeline from Russia, which drew a dismissive headshake from a member of the US ally’s delegation.
His mention of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, all in one breath, was received by stone-faced Saudi officials. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been boycotting Doha since last year as part of a political dispute tearing apart the Gulf Arab nations.