Live: U.S. Politics
Live U.S. political coverage.
U.S.U.S. President Donald Trump will call on Wednesday for slashing tax rates on businesses and the wealthy as part of a new tax plan that is likely to offer few details about how to pay for the cuts without expanding the federal deficit.
U.S.After well-received responses to two major hurricanes that hit the U.S. mainland, President Donald Trump is battling to show Americans he can handle yet another natural disaster - this time in Puerto Rico - despite being caught up in another Twitter war.
U.S.Alabama voters elected conservative firebrand Roy Moore as the Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump and other party leaders who had argued that rival Luther Strange was a better bet to advance their priorities in Washington.
Another Republican attempt to dismantle Obamacare collapsed in Congress as the party was unable to win enough support from its own senators for a bill to repeal the healthcare reform law.
At a press conference with Spain's PM Rajoy, Trump made more comments critical of the NFL. The president told reporters he wasn't preoccupied with NFL protests but was 'ashamed' of what was taking place and that it was a very important thing for the football league not to allow people to kneel during the national anthem.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was peppered with questions about Trump’s tweets criticizing NFL athletes who kneel during the national anthem as a form of protest against racism.“This isn't about the president being against anyone. This is about the president and millions of Americans being for something: being for honoring our flag, honoring our national anthem and honoring the men and women who fought to defend it,” she said.Asked if Trump had any regrets and if it was appropriate for him to call for the athletes to be fired:
"I think it's always appropriate for the president of the United States to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem and to defend the men and women who fought and died to defend it,” Sanders said.(Reporting by Doina Chiacu)
MRN: 17 STATE 97682
Date/DTG: Sep 25, 2017 / 250150Z SEP 17
From: SECSTATE WASHDC
Action: SOMALIA, USMISSION ROUTINE; ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE ROUTINE
TAGS: CMGT, CVIS
Subject: PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION: ENHANCING VETTING CAPABILITIES AND PROCESSES FOR DETECTING ATTEMPTED ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES BY TERRORISTS OR OTHER PUBLIC-SAFETY THREATS - GUIDANCE TO VISA-ISSUING POSTS
1. (SBU) This ALDAC provides general information on the implementation of a Presidential Proclamation (“P.P.”) titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists and other Public-Safety Threats.” Further guidance on implementation of specific provisions of the P.P. will follow and may be found in internal Q&As and other internal materials. All visa-issuing posts should carefully review the P.P., this ALDAC, additional operational guidance, and press guidance in preparing to implement the P.P. Consular officers can find the most up to date guidance, public talking points, additional operational resources and the full text of the P.P. on CA Web.
2. (SBU) Summary: On September 24 2017, the President issued a Presidential Proclamation (P.P.) titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats.”
3. (SBU) The President issued the P.P., pursuant to his authority under sections 212(f) and 215(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and other authorities, to suspend entry into the United States of certain nationals from the following eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia as of the P.P.’s effective dates. The effective dates are described in greater detail in subsequent paragraphs. The P.P. imposes different restrictions on the issuance of immigrant (IV) and nonimmigrant visas (NIV) for, and the entry of, nationals of those eight countries, subject to exceptions and waivers set forth in the P.P. Applicants will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with consular officers taking into account the scope and exception provisions in the P.P. and the applicant’s possible qualification for a waiver.
4. (SBU) The temporary suspension of travel imposed in Section 2 of Executive Order (E.O.) 13780 expired on September 24, 2017. End summary.
Phased Implementation of the P.P.
5. (SBU) There are two phases of implementation for the nationals of the eight countries subject to the P.P., so consular offices should pay close attention to the implementation schedule as described below.
Phase 1: The restrictions established in Section 2 of the P.P. are effective at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, September 24, 2017 until 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 for the following categories of foreign nationals:
a) Nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. These nationals were generally subject to the 90-day travel suspension in E.O. 13780, although some fit within the enumerated exceptions or qualified for a waiver under the terms of the E.O. These nationals in some or all visa categories are subject to suspension of visa issuance under the P.P., subject to a modified list of exceptions and an amended waiver approval process as described in paragraphs 19-29. Pursuant to the terms of the P.P., during Phase 1, consular officers are to apply the visa restrictions consistent with the Supreme Court’s order of June 26, 2017 and the U.S. District Court in Hawaii’s order of July 13, 2017, which exempted from the suspension of entry applicants who had a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a close family member or entity in the United States (see paragraph 30). If the national does not qualify for this exception, the consular officer must apply the visa restrictions, exceptions, and waivers as outlined in this cable immediately.
b) Nationals of Sudan. These nationals were subject to the travel suspension in E.O. 13780, but are not subject to visa restrictions under the P.P. As of 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, September 24, 2017, Sudanese nationals are no longer subject to travel suspension under the E.O. and are not subject to visa restrictions under the P.P. Consular officers should process visa applications from Sudanese nationals in accordance with standard procedures.
Phase 2: Beginning 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017:
a) Nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela: Nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela are subject to the visa restrictions, exceptions, and waivers as outlined in this cable.
b) Nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia: Nationals of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia who were exempt from application of E.O. 13780 and from application of the P.P. during Phase 1 because they had a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a close family member or entity in the United States are now subject to the operational guidance in this cable as outlined in paragraph 6 as of this date.
General Visa Processing Pursuant to the P.P.
6. (SBU) The P.P. instructs the Departments of State and Homeland Security to apply country-specific visa restrictions to nationals of the eight countries named in the P.P. Consular officers should follow the steps below to adjudicate NIV, IV, and DV applications. The P.P., including its exceptions and waivers of the visa restrictions, apply to nationals from the eight countries, regardless of where they apply for visas. Consular officers must determine whether an applicant is subject to a country-specific restriction, and whether an exception applies, and consider whether the applicant may qualify for a waiver on a case-by-case basis during the course of a visa interview, subject to any further procedures required before a final determination can be made on the waiver. In every case involving a national of one of the eight countries named in the P.P., consular officers should follow these steps:
Step 1: Determine whether the applicant is otherwise eligible for a visa under the INA without regard to the P.P.
Step 2: Determine whether the applicant falls within the scope of the country-specific visa restrictions (see paragraph 7).
Step 3: If the applicant falls within the scope of the country-specific visa restrictions, determine whether the applicant fits in any of the categories of exceptions to the P.P. (see paragraphs 19-20).
Step 4: If the applicant falls within the scope of the country-specific visa restrictions and does not fit any of the categories of exceptions under the P.P., determine whether the applicant qualifies for a waiver (see paragraphs 21-29).
Step 5: Issue or refuse the visa accordingly.
Country-specific Visa Restrictions under the P.P.
7. (SBU) The P.P.’s visa restrictions and suspension of entry provisions were specifically tailored for each country with the goals of reducing the security threat the unrestricted entry of nationals of those countries might pose and encouraging improved host government cooperation on information sharing practices. Consular officers should carefully review the visa restrictions for nationals of the eight countries subject to the P.P. below. For nationals subject to the visa restrictions discussed in this paragraph, consular officers should consider whether the national fits within one of the enumerated exceptions or qualifies for a waiver in accordance with paragraphs 19-29 of this cable:
a) Nationals of Chad – The issuance of visas to nationals of Chad is suspended for the following visa categories:
• All immigrant and diversity visas
• All regular and official-type B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
b) Nationals of Iran – The issuance of visas to nationals of Iran is suspended for the following visa categories:
• All immigrant and diversity visas
• All NIVs, except for F, M, and J visas, and those specified in paragraph 19(h). During Phase 1, F, M, and J visas will require submission of a Donkey SAO if the consular officer determines that the applicant is otherwise eligible for a visa and the applicant does not have a credible claim to a bona fide relationship with a close family member of entity in the United States. During Phase 2, all F, M, and J visas will require submission of a mandatory Donkey SAO if the consular officer determines that the applicant is otherwise eligible for a visa. Guidance on enhanced screening and vetting required by the P.P. for Phase 2 will be sent septel.
c) Nationals of Libya – The issuance of visas to nationals of Libya is suspended for the following visa categories:
• All immigrant and diversity visas
• All regular and official-type B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
d) Nationals of North Korea – The issuance of visas to nationals of North Korea is suspended for the following visa categories:
• All immigrant and diversity visas
• All NIVs, except as specified in paragraph 19(h)
e) Nationals of Syria – The issuance of visas to nationals of Syria is suspended for the following visa categories:
• All immigrant and diversity visas
• All NIVs, except as specified in paragraph 19(h)
f) Nationals of Venezuela – The issuance of visas to nationals of Venezuela is suspended for the following visa categories:
• B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas, including regular, official-type, and diplomatic-type visas, for officials of the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations and their immediate family members. This is the only limitation on the exceptions provided in paragraph 19(h). Guidance regarding additional measures as mentioned in the P.P. will be sent septel.
g) Nationals of Yemen – The issuance of visas to nationals of Yemen is suspended for the following visa categories:
• All immigrant and diversity visas
• All regular and official-type B-1, B-2, and B-1/B-2 visas
h) Nationals of Somalia – The issuance of visas to nationals of Somalia is subject to the following guidance:
• All immigrant and diversity visa issuance is suspended
• All NIVs, except those specified in paragraph 19(h), will require submission of a Donkey SAO if the consular officer determines the applicant is otherwise eligible for a visa. During Phase 1, the mandatory Donkey SAO requirement does not apply to NIV applicants who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a close family member or entity in the United States. During Phase 2, all NIV applicants will require submission of a mandatory Donkey SAO if the consular officer determines the applicant is otherwise eligible for a visa. Guidance on additional scrutiny required by the P.P. for Phase 2 will be sent septel.
Visa Processing for Iraqi Nationals
8. (SBU) Pursuit to the P.P., Iraqi nationals seeking to enter the United States are not subject to entry restrictions or limitations. Consular officers should continue to follow enhanced vetting guidance as outlined in 17 STATE 25814 and 17 STATE 52856.
NIV Processing for Nationals Subject to the P.P.
9. (SBU) GSS vendors and posts should continue scheduling interviews for NIV applicants of the eight nationalities subject to the P.P. NIV applicants presenting passports from any of the eight countries subject to the P.P. should be interviewed and adjudicated in accordance with the restrictions listed in paragraph 7.
10. (SBU) Applicants found ineligible for a visa based on grounds unrelated to the P.P. should be refused according to standard procedures. The appropriate refusal code should be entered into the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS). See 9 FAM 303.3-4(A). Posts must follow existing FAM guidance in 9 FAM 304.2 and 304.3 to determine whether an SAO or an Advisory Opinion (AO) must be submitted. Posts must follow guidance about exceptions (paragraphs 19-20) and waivers (paragraphs 21-29) for issuing or refusing visas pursuant to the P.P.
11. (SBU) If the consular officer finds the applicant otherwise eligible for the visa, the consular officer will need to consider during the interview whether the applicant falls within the scope of the visa restrictions applicable to his or her country of nationality (paragraph 7), and if so, whether an exception applies (paragraphs 19-20) or whether the applicant qualifies for a waiver (paragraphs 21-29). NIV applicants who are subject to the restrictions but who do not fit one of the exceptions should be refused EO17. If, after proper procedures, the applicant subsequently qualifies for a waiver, the officer must waive the EO17 refusal in NIV before issuing the visa. For more information on appropriate refusal procedures, CLASS refusal codes, and text of refusal letters, please refer to the Operational Q&As on CA Web.
IV Processing for Nationals Subject to the P.P.
12. (SBU) The National Visa Center (NVC) will continue to schedule IV appointments for all IV categories and all nationalities. Posts should continue to interview all IV applicants presenting passports from any of the eight countries subject to the P.P.
13. (SBU) IV Applicants found ineligible for a visa based on grounds unrelated to the P.P. should be refused according to standard procedures. The appropriate refusal code should be entered into the CLASS.
14. (SBU) If the consular officer finds the applicant otherwise eligible for the visa, the consular officer will need to consider during the interview whether the applicant falls within the scope of the visa restrictions applicable to his or her country of nationality (paragraph 7), and if so, whether an exception applies (paragraph 19) or whether the applicant qualifies for a waiver (paragraphs 21-29).
15. (SBU) IV applicants who do not fit one of the exceptions or who do not qualify for a waiver should be refused EO17. Consular officers may send an AO request to VO/L/A in these cases but are not required to submit one. For more information on appropriate refusal procedures, CLASS refusal codes, and text of refusal letters, please refer to the Operational Q&As on CA Web.
DV Processing for Nationals Subject to the P.P.
16. (SBU) The Kentucky Consular Center will continue to schedule DV appointments for all eligible nationalities, and posts should interview the applicants.
17. (SBU) If the applicant is not eligible for the visa without regard to the P.P, the applicant should be refused according to standard procedures. The appropriate refusal code should be entered into CLASS.
18. (SBU) If an applicant is found otherwise eligible for the DV, the consular officer will need to consider during the interview whether the applicant has an exception from the P.P. (paragraph 19), and if not, whether the applicant qualifies for a waiver (paragraphs 21-29). Based on the Department’s experience with the DV program, very few DV applicants are likely to fit within an exception or to qualify for a waiver. DV applicants who do not fit one of the exceptions or who do not qualify for a waiver should be refused EO17. Consular officers may send AO requests to VO/L/A in these cases but are not required to do so. For more information on appropriate refusal procedures, CLASS refusal codes, and text of refusal letters, please refer to the Operational Q&As on CA Web.
Exceptions to the P.P.
19. (SBU) The P.P.’s suspension of entry does not apply to the following:
a) Any national who was in the United States on the applicable effective date of the P.P. for that national, regardless of immigration status;
b) Any national who had a valid visa on the applicable effective date of the P.P. for that national;
c) Any national whose visa was marked revoked or marked canceled as a result of Executive Order 13769 who is entitled to a visa or other valid travel document under section 6(d) of the P.P.;
d) Any lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States;
e) Any national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date of the P.P for that national;
f) Any national who has a document other than a visa – such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document – valid on the applicable effective date of the P.P. for that national or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
g) Any dual national of a country designated under the P.P. when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
h) Any national traveling on a diplomatic (A-1 or A-2) or diplomatic-type visa (of any classification), NATO-1-6 visas, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; except certain Venezuelan government officials and their family members traveling on a diplomatic-type B-1, B-2, or B1/B2 visas; or
i) Any national who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granting withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
20. (SBU) When issuing an IV, NIV, or DV to an individual who falls into one of the visa restrictions listed in paragraph 7 based on an exception in paragraph 19, the visa should be annotated to state, “Exception under Proclamation.” Interviewing officers must also enter a clear case note stating the specific reason why the applicant has an exception.
Waiver Qualifications and Process
21. (SBU) The P.P. permits consular officers to grant waivers and authorize the issuance of a visa on a case-by-case basis when the applicant demonstrates to the officer’s satisfaction that the visa case meets all of the following three conditions:
a) Denying entry would cause undue hardship to the applicant;
b) His or her entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and
c) His or her entry would be in the U.S. national interest.
22. (SBU) To establish that visa denial under the P.P. will meet the undue hardship condition, the applicant must demonstrate to the consular officer’s satisfaction that an unusual situation exists that compels immediate travel by the applicant and that delaying visa issuance and the associated travel plans until after visa restrictions imposed with respect to nationals of that country are lifted would defeat the purpose of travel.
23. (SBU) An applicant may meet the national interest condition if a U.S. person or entity would suffer hardship if the applicant could not travel until after visa restrictions imposed with respect to nationals of that country are lifted.
24. (SBU) Consular officers may not categorically grant case-by-case-waivers. The P.P. includes the following examples where case-by-case waivers may be appropriate:
a) The applicant has previously been admitted to the United States for a continuous period of work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the applicable effective date of the P.P. for the applicant, seeks to reenter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of reentry would impair that activity;
b) The applicant has previously established significant contacts with the United States but is outside the United States on the applicable effective date of the P.P. for the applicant for work, study, or other lawful activity;
c) The applicant seeks to enter the United States for significant business or professional obligations and the denial of entry would impair those obligations;
d) The applicant seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a close family member (e.g., a spouse, child or parent) who is a U.S. citizen, LPR, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid NIV, and the denial of entry during the suspension period would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
e) The applicant is an infant, a young child, or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstances of the case;
f) The applicant has been employed by, or on behalf of, the U.S. Government (or is the eligible dependent of such an employee) and the employee can document that he or she has provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. Government;
g) The applicant is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), 22 U.S.C 288 et seq., traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United States Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA;
h) The applicant is a Canadian permanent resident who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
i) The applicant is traveling as a U.S. Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
j) The applicant is traveling to the United States at the request of a U.S. Government department or agency for legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, or national security purposes.
25. (SBU) Waivers based on special circumstances other than the examples set forth in paragraph 24(e) require a consular chief approval and submission of an AO to VO/L/A. With VO’s concurrence, the consular officer may approve a waiver based on other special circumstances.
26. (SBU) Additional guidance on making the national security/public safety determination will be sent via septel. The septel will address ways to mitigate the risks of making such a determination notwithstanding the national security and public safety risks identified in the P.P and assessing the sufficiency of available information. Officers who determine that an applicant meets the undue hardship and the national interest conditions of the three-prong test in paragraph 21 should refuse the applicant EO17 until additional guidance referenced in this paragraph regarding determining that the applicant would not pose a threat to national security or public safety is available.
27. (SBU) If the applicant qualifies for a waiver based on criteria in paragraphs 21-26 (including consideration of the guidance to be sent septel), the consular officer may issue the visa with the concurrence of a Visa Unit chief (IV or NIV) or the Consular Section chief and after receiving from VO as described in paragraph 25. The officer should waive the EO17 refusal in the NIV or IVO system. The visa should be annotated to read, “Presidential Proclamation Waived.” Case notes must reflect the basis for the waiver; the undue hardship that would be caused by denying entry during the suspension; the national interest; the reasons the applicant does not pose a threat to U.S. national security or public safety; and the position title of the manager concurring with the waiver.
28. (SBU) If the applicant does not qualify under one of the waiver category examples in paragraph 24, but the interviewing officer and consular manager believe that the applicant meets the waiver requirements of undue hardship and national interest, the consular officer should submit the case to the Visa Office via email to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. The Visa Office will review requests and reply to posts within two business days.
29. (SBU) If the applicant is not able to satisfy any of the three tests: the undue hardship; national interest; or no threat to U.S. national security or public safety, no waiver is available and the consular officer must refuse the application under the EO17 refusal code.
Definitions of “Close Family” and “U.S. Entity”
30. (SBU) In light of the referenced court orders, “close family” is currently defined as a parent, including parent-in-law, spouse, fiancé, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and first-cousin. For all relationships, half or step status is included (e.g., “half-brother” or “step-sister”). “Close family” does not include any other “extended” family members. A credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a “U.S. entity” must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading suspension of entry under E.O. 13780. This guidance will be applicable during Phase 1 for those countries subject to E.O. 13780. Pursuant to the President’s determination in the P.P., this guidance will no longer be operative under Phase 2 of implementation of the P.P.
Processing V92 and V93 cases
31. (SBU) The P.P. does not affect V92 applicants (follow-to-join asylees), and post should adjudicate these cases per standard guidance.
32. (SBU) While the P.P. does not affect V93 applicants (follow-to-join refugees), they continue to be subject to Section 6 of E.O. 13780, which remains in effect, subject to the Supreme Court exceptions. Post must continue processing and adjudicate V93 cases to determine their qualifications as normal and then determine if one of the Supreme Court exceptions apply. We believe that based on their follow-to-join status, most V93 applicants will qualify for an exemption based on their relationship with the petitioner in the U.S. If posts have any questions about as specific case please reach out to your VO/F liaison. VO will send guidance when Section 6 of E.O. 13780 no longer applies to V93 cases.
33. (SBU) Posts with questions regarding this guidance should contact their post liaison officer in CA/VO/F.
34. (U) Minimize considered.
“I have decided,” Trump told reporters when asked if he had made up his mind after having criticized the accord under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.U.S.U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he had made his decision on whether or not the United States will remain in a 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers, but he declined to reveal it.
“I emphatically state that I had nothing to do with any Russian involvement in our electoral process."- Michael Cohen, in a statement prepared for a scheduled meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators that was ultimately postponed.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 19, 2017
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP
TO THE 72ND SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, New York
10:04 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, world leaders, and distinguished delegates: Welcome to New York. It is a profound honor to stand here in my home city, as a representative of the American people, to address the people of the world.
As millions of our citizens continue to suffer the effects of the devastating hurricanes that have struck our country, I want to begin by expressing my appreciation to every leader in this room who has offered assistance and aid. The American people are strong and resilient, and they will emerge from these hardships more determined than ever before.
Fortunately, the United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8th. The stock market is at an all-time high -- a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time. And it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense.
Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been. For more than 70 years, in times of war and peace, the leaders of nations, movements, and religions have stood before this assembly. Like them, I intend to address some of the very serious threats before us today but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed.
We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity. Breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine are curing illnesses and solving problems that prior generations thought impossible to solve.
But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value. Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.
Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems, and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II.
International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people; force dislocation and mass migration; threaten our borders; and new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens.
To put it simply, we meet at a time of both of immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights, or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.
We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams, and to ensure that new generations of children are raised free from violence, hatred, and fear.
This institution was founded in the aftermath of two world wars to help shape this better future. It was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security, and promote their prosperity.
It was in the same period, exactly 70 years ago, that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those three beautiful pillars -- they’re pillars of peace, sovereignty, security, and prosperity.
The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent, and free. As President Truman said in his message to Congress at that time, “Our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations. The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members.”
To overcome the perils of the present and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty to promote security, prosperity, and peace for themselves and for the world.
We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions, or even systems of government. But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation. This is the beautiful vision of this institution, and this is foundation for cooperation and success.
Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect.
Strong, sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong, sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God.
In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch. This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example. We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution -- the oldest constitution still in use in the world today.
This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity, and freedom for the Americans and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity, and the rule of law.
The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words. They are: “We the people.”
Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country, and of our great history. In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people, where it belongs.
In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government's first duty is to its people, to our citizens -- to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values.
As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first. (Applause.)
All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.
But making a better life for our people also requires us to work together in close harmony and unity to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.
The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return. As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else.
But in fulfilling our obligations to our own nations, we also realize that it’s in everyone’s interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous, and secure.
America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations Charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America's devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies, from the beaches of Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to the jungles of Asia.
It is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerged victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion, or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others. Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one to defend the sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.
For the diverse nations of the world, this is our hope. We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideology. We have a policy of principled realism, rooted in shared goals, interests, and values.
That realism forces us to confront a question facing every leader and nation in this room. It is a question we cannot escape or avoid. We will slide down the path of complacency, numb to the challenges, threats, and even wars that we face. Or do we have enough strength and pride to confront those dangers today, so that our citizens can enjoy peace and prosperity tomorrow?
If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests, and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow. And just as the founders of this body intended, we must work together and confront together those who threaten us with chaos, turmoil, and terror.
The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.
If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.
No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more.
We were all witness to the regime's deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America only to die a few days later. We saw it in the assassination of the dictator's brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport. We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea's spies.
If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life.
It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict. No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles.
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.
It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future. The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved.
But we must do much more. It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior.
We face this decision not only in North Korea. It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime -- one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.
The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. The longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people.
Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors. This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran's people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship, fuel Yemen's civil war, and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East.
We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. (Applause.) The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it -- believe me.
It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran's government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.
The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict Internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protestors, and imprison political reformers.
Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror? Or will the Iranian people return to the nation's proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?
The Iranian regime's support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its financing.
In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamist extremism that inspires them.
We will stop radical Islamic terrorism because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed to tear up the entire world.
We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nations. It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban and others that slaughter innocent people.
The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people.
Last month, I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operations, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians.
I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups. In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined.
We seek the de-escalation of the Syrian conflict, and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens -- even innocent children -- shock the conscience of every decent person. No society can be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread. That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the airbase that launched the attack.
We appreciate the efforts of United Nations agencies that are providing vital humanitarian assistance in areas liberated from ISIS, and we especially thank Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees from the Syrian conflict.
The United States is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort. We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people, and which enables their eventual return to their home countries, to be part of the rebuilding process.
For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region. Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region, and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach.
For decades, the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere. We have learned that, over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.
For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform, and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms.
For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.
I want to salute the work of the United Nations in seeking to address the problems that cause people to flee from their homes. The United Nations and African Union led peacekeeping missions to have invaluable contributions in stabilizing conflicts in Africa. The United States continues to lead the world in humanitarian assistance, including famine prevention and relief in South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria and Yemen.
We have invested in better health and opportunity all over the world through programs like PEPFAR, which funds AIDS relief; the President's Malaria Initiative; the Global Health Security Agenda; the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery; and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, part of our commitment to empowering women all across the globe.
We also thank -- (applause) -- we also thank the Secretary General for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security, and prosperity. Too often the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process.
In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution's noble aims have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them. For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realizes. The United States bears an unfair cost burden, but, to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it.
Major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell. But the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems.
The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world. In the meantime, we believe that no nation should have to bear a disproportionate share of the burden, militarily or financially. Nations of the world must take a greater role in promoting secure and prosperous societies in their own regions.
That is why in the Western Hemisphere, the United States has stood against the corrupt and destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom. My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms.
We have also imposed tough, calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse.
The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere its has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives to preserve his disastrous rule.
The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch.
As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal. That goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy. I would like to thank leaders in this room for condemning the regime and providing vital support to the Venezuelan people.
The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.
We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbors.
I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela. (Applause.)
The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. (Applause.) From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.
America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their wellbeing, including their prosperity.
In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of good will, but this trade must be fair and it must be reciprocal.
For too long, the American people were told that mammoth multinational trade deals, unaccountable international tribunals, and powerful global bureaucracies were the best way to promote their success. But as those promises flowed, millions of jobs vanished and thousands of factories disappeared. Others gamed the system and broke the rules. And our great middle class, once the bedrock of American prosperity, was forgotten and left behind, but they are forgotten no more and they will never be forgotten again.
While America will pursue cooperation and commerce with other nations, we are renewing our commitment to the first duty of every government: the duty of our citizens. This bond is the source of America's strength and that of every responsible nation represented here today.
If this organization is to have any hope of successfully confronting the challenges before us, it will depend, as President Truman said some 70 years ago, on the "independent strength of its members." If we are to embrace the opportunities of the future and overcome the present dangers together, there can be no substitute for strong, sovereign, and independent nations -- nations that are rooted in their histories and invested in their destinies; nations that seek allies to befriend, not enemies to conquer; and most important of all, nations that are home to patriots, to men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their countries, their fellow citizens, and for all that is best in the human spirit.
In remembering the great victory that led to this body's founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil also fought for the nations that they loved.
Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain.
Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts, and our minds in our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities, and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us.
We cannot wait for someone else, for faraway countries or far-off bureaucrats -- we can't do it. We must solve our problems, to build our prosperity, to secure our futures, or we will be vulnerable to decay, domination, and defeat.
The true question for the United Nations today, for people all over the world who hope for better lives for themselves and their children, is a basic one: Are we still patriots? Do we love our nations enough to protect their sovereignty and to take ownership of their futures? Do we revere them enough to defend their interests, preserve their cultures, and ensure a peaceful world for their citizens?
One of the greatest American patriots, John Adams, wrote that the American Revolution was "effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people."
That was the moment when America awoke, when we looked around and understood that we were a nation. We realized who we were, what we valued, and what we would give our lives to defend. From its very first moments, the American story is the story of what is possible when people take ownership of their future.
The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world, and the greatest defenders of sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.
Now we are calling for a great reawakening of nations, for the revival of their spirits, their pride, their people, and their patriotism.
History is asking us whether we are up to the task. Our answer will be a renewal of will, a rediscovery of resolve, and a rebirth of devotion. We need to defeat the enemies of humanity and unlock the potential of life itself.
Our hope is a word and world of proud, independent nations that embrace their duties, seek friendship, respect others, and make common cause in the greatest shared interest of all: a future of dignity and peace for the people of this wonderful Earth.
This is the true vision of the United Nations, the ancient wish of every people, and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul.
So let this be our mission, and let this be our message to the world: We will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty God who made us all.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the nations of the world. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
10:46 A.M. EDT
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