September 25, 2019 - Wednesday
Trump and Obama: Worlds apart at the U.N.
September 25, 2019
While Democrats tried to play spoiler at home, President Trump went about doing actual business yesterday. After three years of cutting through the liberal noise, he's become quite good at ignoring the Left and systematically adding to his list of first-term successes. This week at the United Nations, the administration made plenty of progress, first with the president's historic religious liberty event, then with Secretary Alex Azar's pro-life nations' letter, and Tuesday, with Trump's remarks to the general assembly. If the impeachment circus was supposed to affect the White House's effectiveness, it failed.
At U.N. headquarters in New York, President Trump used his speech as another opportunity to advance the most basic of human rights -- life. "Americans," he vowed, "will... never tire of defending innocent life. We are aware that many United Nations projects have attempted to assert a global right to taxpayer-funded abortion on demand -- right up until the moment of delivery. Global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life. Like many nations here today, we in America believe that every child born and unborn is a sacred gift from God."
Then, in a nod to the groundbreaking work his administration has done to protect religious freedom, he called on other nations to join him in ending global persecution. "This fundamental right is under growing threat around the world. Hard to believe," the president shook his head, "but 80 percent of the world's population lives in countries where religious liberty is in significant danger or even completely outlawed. Americans will never [grow weary] in our effort to defend and promote freedom of worship and religion. We want and support religious liberty for all."
It was this same leadership that led Secretaries Azar and Mike Pompeo to create a coalition of more than 1.3 billion people in 21 countries for the safeguarding of the unborn. Tuesday, on "Washington Watch," Secretary Azar explained what was behind that push and what difference he believes it will make on the world stage.
Ironically, he explains, the Trump administration didn't necessarily want to take on the international pro-abortion lobby. He hoped they could focus on areas of consensus with other nations. "We tried to avoid these issues. We tried to find places of commonality around health care and don't try to drive our agenda on them. But they tried to force [abortion] on us and other countries. And we stood up and said, 'No, we're done with this.' And countries representing over one billion people stood up at the World Health Assembly and said, 'Enough. You must respect our sovereignty. You must respect our values and do not force them on us.'" "I would say," Azar went on, "the majority view of the member nations [is that] abortion is not health care. But by leadership, [we're] bringing people on, not coercion."
Still, he admits, it's not always an easy battle to fight. "The other nations are trying to exploit [the U.N.] as a vehicle because they know the popularity of the universal health care initiative. They're trying to exploit it as a way to still fulfill their aggressive agenda... They try to sneak these things in," he explains, "but we catch them in U.N. resolutions and documents that the U.N. bureaucratic staff and other international organizations [are trying to use] to claim that there [is] an established fundamental international right to abortion... And we're we are watching this, and we are calling them out on that."
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.