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Trump at U.N. General Assembly: 'The future belongs to patriots'

The U.S. president touched on various issues in his remarks, including immigration -- and denounced border-friendly policies as "cruel and evil."

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Trump at U.N. General Assembly: 'The future belongs to patriots'
President Donald Trump speaks Tuesday at the 74th General Debate at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. President Donald Trump delivered his address Tuesday at the 74th United Nations General Assembly, striking a patriotic tone and encouraging citizens around the world to love their country and reject globalism.

Trump spoke second after the start of the General Debate, following Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

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"If you want freedom, take pride in your country," Trump said. "If you want Democracy, hold on to your sovereignty. If you want peace, love your nation. Wise leaders always put the good of their own people and their own country first.

"The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots."

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Trump underscored the theme of his remarks by noting the United States has spent $2.5 trillion upgrading its military in the two and a half years since he took office.

"Hopefully it will never have to use this power," he added. "Americans know in a world where others seek conquest and domination, our nation must be strong in wealth and might and in spirit."

Trump used the occasion to criticize China for an ongoing trade feud and slam Iran for, according to administration officials, striking two oil-producing areas of Saudi Arabia this month.

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On China, he denounced Beijing for acting in "very bad faith" and said the World Trade Organization needs "drastic change."

"A small handful grew wealthy at the expense of the middle class," Trump said. "The United States is now taking that decisive action to end this grave economic injustice. Our goal is simple we want balanced trade that is both fair and reciprocal."

On Iran, he vowed to do whatever necessary to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

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"We just imposed the highest level of sanctions of Iran's central bank and sovereign wealth fund," Trump said. "No responsible government should subsidize Iran's blood lust. Iran's leaders will have turned a proud nation into just another cautionary tale."

Iran has denied involvement in the drone and cruise missile attacks, instead blaming Houthi rebels in Yemen. Britain, Germany and France have also blamed Iran for the attacks.

When the speech shifted to immigration, a chief priority of the president's administration, Trump had strong words for immigration proponents in Central America and the United States -- bashing those who "cloak themselves in rhetoric of social justice" and promote weak borders.

"Your policies are not just. Your policies are cruel and evil," he said. "You are empowering criminal organizations that prey on men, women and children. You put your own false sense of virtue before the lives [and] well-being of countless innocent people.

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"When you are undermining border security you are undermining human rights and human dignity. "

The U.S. leader also made a direct appeal to migrants planning to enter the United States unlawfully.

"Do not pay the smugglers. Do not pay the coyotes. Do not put yourself in danger. Do not put your children in danger," he said. "Because if you make it here, you will not be allowed in.

"You will be promptly returned home. You will not be released into our country. As long as I am president of the United States, we will enforce our laws and protect our borders."

Monday, Trump's administration ended the "catch and release" immigration policy, vowing to deport every migrant who crosses the border.

Tuesday, Trump also called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a "Cuban puppet" who allows the regime in Havana to plunder Venezuelan. Maduro remains the president in Caracas, despite widespread condemnation in the international community over the legitimacy of his last election. The United States and several Western governments recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation's interim leader.

"To the Venezuelans trapped in this nightmare, please know that all of America is united behind you," Trump said. "The United States has vast quantities of humanitarian aid ready and waiting to be delivered. ... we await the day when democracy will be restored."

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As is custom, the leader of Brazil spoke first Tuesday to open the debate. Bolsonaro used the occasion to claim the Amazon rain forest, which has been beset by wildfires this summer, is sovereign property of Brazil.

"It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception confirmed by scientists to say that our Amazon forests are the lungs of the world," he said.

Bolsonaro has stoked tensions with the international community over the fires, at one point rejecting $20 million in aid from the nations of the Group of Seven, dismissing the offer as insufficient. He later put conditions on accepting the funding. He has been referred to by some as the "Brazilian Donald Trump."

Several other world leaders were also scheduled to address the Assembly Tuesday morning -- including South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron. The afternoon session will include British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

After his speech, Trump was scheduled to meet with Johnson and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who are at odds over the British exit from the European Union, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trump will meet with Iraqi President Barham Salih in the afternoon and attend a diplomatic reception in the evening.

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