Patrick Goodenough | December 21, 2017 | 4:26 AM EST
(CNSNews.com) – President Trump had a blunt warning Wednesday for countries that “take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars” in U.S. aid, and then vote against U.S. interests at the United Nations.
“We’re watching those votes,” he said during a cabinet meeting at the White House. “Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
Earlier, Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley cautioned U.N. member-states that the U.S. will be “taking names” when the U.N. General Assembly in an “emergency session” Thursday is scheduled to vote on a resolution condemning Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Haley suggested that countries who get significant aid from the U.S. should be especially careful, and Trump expanded on the thinly-veiled threat.
“I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations for all of these nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council, or they vote against us potentially at the [General] Assembly,” he said.
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
“This isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you, and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they’re doing.”
Trump said U.S. citizens are “tired of this country being taken advantage of, and we’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
Some of the countries that receive the most U.S. assistance each year vote in opposition to U.S. positions at the U.N. more often than not. (See related story)
Criticism came quickly from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which calls itself “the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.”
“Our government should not use its leadership at the U.N. to bully/blackmail other nations that stand for religious liberty and justice in Jerusalem,” said executive director Nihad Awad.
Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi predicted the resolution would pass by an “overwhelming majority.”
“Extortion is the most effective way for the U.S. to isolate itself even further and to weaken its influence and standing globally,” she said in a statement.
The resolution coming to a vote on Thursday was co-sponsored by Turkey and Yemen. Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag bristled at Trump’s threat.
“The U.S. must know that it cannot direct all of the sovereign countries with pressure and threats as it wants,” he said in a series of Twitter posts. “Tomorrow’s vote is an opportunity for this.”
On Monday, the U.S. used its veto power in the Security Council to kill a similar resolution critical of Trump’s Jerusalem move. All 14 other members of the council voted in favor.
If previous General Assembly votes are anything to go on, Thursday’s resolution will indeed pass with a large majority as predicted by the PLO.
In 2016, the General Assembly adopted 18 condemnatory Israel-related resolutions.
In each case the U.S. and Israel cast “no” votes, and on occasion they were joined by a small group of other countries, including at various times Canada, Australia and several Pacific island nations. A number of countries abstained in each case.
Each of the 18 texts passed by lopsided majorities : 177 votes to 7, 100-9, 99-9, 153-7, 153-7, 103-6, 149-7, 157-5, 166-6, 167-6, 165-7, 91-11, 168-6, 165-6, 162-7, 133-9, 166-8 and 168-7.
Thank You Mr Goodenough, CNS, President Trump and Ambassador Haley.