Trump’s speech to UN assembly draws unintended laughter

US president’s claim about his successes in office elicits unexpected response from world leaders

Donald Trump delivered his second speech to the UN general assembly on Tuesday and got more than he bargained for – laughter.

The speech by the United States president was always highly anticipated, in particular following Mr Trump's inaugural UN address a year ago when he denounced North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as "rocket man" and threatened to "totally destroy North Korea".

This time around Mr Trump received an unexpected response from world leaders. As he began an exposition on his political achievements a titter rippled through the illustrious chamber.

“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” he boomed from the podium.


Visibly taken-aback by the response, he paused and added: “So true.” The laughter increased, and so did Mr Trump’s evident discomfort. “Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay,” he said.

Public humiliation

But if Mr Trump handled the public humiliation with relative aplomb, his anger appeared to increase during the day. An hour later, he began to energetically retweet social media posts praising his UN speech.

For a president who is notoriously sensitive to criticism, the spectacle of a US president being laughed at by world leaders is unlikely to sit well.

His supporters, however, are likely to be assured by the speech, which returned to the “America first” themes of his election campaign. “We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism,” he said.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent