Graduate students gathered at a Seton Hall watch party, intent on Donald Trump’s maiden speech to the United Nations. When the president got to North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un’s persistent threat to launch nuclear ballistic missiles, his grim assessment evoked some dismay among students.
“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,” said Trump.
“It’s very scary to me. We’re trying to promote peace. We’re trying to exercise preventative diplomacy through negotiation and that is a very aggressive statement,” said Seton Hall University graduate student Morgan McMichen.
“I think he’s got their attention. Certainly, he’s got the muscle to do it, in terms of American firepower. Hopefully, we don’t have to use that,” Seton Hall University graduate student Father Carl Lindblad said.
Students and staff at Seton Hall’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations welcomed the president’s speech as a 45-minute alternative to his usual tweetstorm. Trump also criticized the multi-nation Iran Accord, designed to keep it from developing nuclear weapons.
“Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me,” said Trump.
“He’s prepared for these 45 minutes. This is not nearly as spontaneous as a tweet. And so we would expect that he’s thought this through. So there’s definitely a message there, even though I and many people in this room thought it was a mixed message,” according to Assistant Professor Rev. Brian Muzas.
Trump again slammed the U.N.’s bureaucracy and complained the U.S. paid more than its fair share into the organization. He insisted sovereign nations should respect each other’s culture and integrity and take responsibility for their own citizens. To that end, the president called uncontrolled migration “deeply unfair” and said the U.S. would pay to keep refugees closer to their homes.
“For the cost of resettling one refugee in the U.S., we can assist more than ten in their home region. Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region,” said Trump.
“Having all these refugees so close, in a way, yes, it sounds good but a lot of times those refugees don’t have work permits. A lot of times that leads to conflict when you have sort of this large, unstable temporary population in a host country,” said Seton Hall University graduate student Kendra Brock.
Trump reminded the 193 nations of his “America First” policy.
“I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always and should always put your countries first. 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,” he said.
But then president then urged member nations to restore democracy in Venezuela and went on to slam socialism.
“From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure,” he said.
Muzas said it was a mixed message.
“I don’t know that Trump’s ideas were expressed in a coherent fashion,” he said.
Muzas called the speech a “Frankenstein lab experiment” where each segment seemed to make sense, but taken together was rife with contradictions.