On Wednesday, Sept. 26, President Donald Trump took the stage at the United Nations in New York City to kick off the meeting of the UN Security Council at the UN General Assembly. And while it was Trump's first time chairing the meeting, he had some big shoes to fill, given that his predecssor, Barack Obama, got to chair the meeting twice during his two-term presidency. So, for those searching for a side by side comparison of Trump versus Obama on the UN Security Council, here you go.
To start off, let's give everyone a brief overview of what exactly the UN Security Council does. According to the Global Policy Forum (GPF), the Security Council is the "most powerful body" of the United Nations, with the primary responsibility to "maintain international peace and security" for nations. The council has 15 member nations, five of which (including the U.S.) are permanent, while the others are elected for specific terms. The nations take turns holding the presidency on a monthly rotating basis — and for the 2018 UNGA, it was Trump's turn to chair the meeting.
Although Trump has had his fair share of experience meeting with foreign leaders so far, the UN Security Council is a completely different ballgame. This very structured summit is a time where world leaders come together to talk about topics including "international safety and world peace," so it's not exactly a tea party.
However, instead of hashing out strategies and building relations, Trump handled it with his usual upheaval, throwing everyone for a loop and he accusing China of meddling in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. Elite Daily reached out to the White House and the Embassy of China for comment but did not immediately hear back. Just before the meeting, Trump also discussed his support for a "two state solution" in regards to fixing tensions between Palestine and Israel, a controversial stance which is sure to get blowback.
However, when it comes to genuine change, not much was done during the gathering. According to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, prior to the meeting there were no plans to adopt a resolution, Business Insider reported.
Leading up to the summit, talks of Trump sitting at a table alongside representatives of powerhouses like Russia and China might have made some of the public nervous. However, the anticipation also made everyone curious, especially since before the meeting, Haley stated that this event "is going to be the most watched Security Council meeting ever."
The Security Council meeting was a chance for Trump to redeem himself on the world stage — just the day before, his speech to the UN General Assembly drew laughs when he said that his administration had "accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country."
Although he may have a history of making speeches and appearing before crowds of people, Trump's delivery is definitely different than Barack Obama's time chairing the meetings.
While Trump's still on his first try, Obama chaired two UN Security Council meetings during his presidency, one in 2009 and another in 2014. During these meetings, Obama dealt with some heavy topics. Just take 2009 for example, where he worked with other nations to pass a resolution that would make it more difficult to turn peaceful nuclear programs into weapons projects. Then, in 2014, he led the UN to reach a resolution to "stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters into, and out of, Syria and Iraq," per the White House website. Not necessarily an easy feat.
His remarks were received fairly differently, too. Throughout the 2014 meeting, Obama and his fellow attendees easily worked together in order to pass a historic resolution with the initiative to share more information about the whereabouts and activities of terrorist fighters in foreign countries.
So there you have it everyone. Different times, two very different presidents.