Most foreign leaders are delicate when presented the opportunity to criticize Donald Trump to his face. Not Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Trump was forced to sit through a lengthy tongue-lashing from Morales on Wednesday at a meeting of the UN Security Council that the U.S. president hosted. It’s likely the harshest any foreign leader has ever spoken to Trump in public.
“I would like to say to you, frankly and openly here, that in no way is the United States interested in upholding democracy ’’ Morales said through a translator.
Morales is a well-known agitator at the UN with longstanding anti-American sentiments. He has in the past attacked the U.S. for its interventions in the Middle East, including the Iraq war, the toppling of Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi and the civil war in Syria.
But on Wednesday he rebuked Trump’s foreign and domestic policies alike, asserting that the U.S. president’s treatment of other countries and immigrants is callous.
“The United States could not care less about human rights or justice,’’ Morales said. “If this were the case, it would have signed the international conventions and treaties that have protected human rights. It would not have threatened the investigation mechanism of the International Criminal Court, nor would it promote the use of torture, nor would it have walked away from the Human Rights Council. And nor would it have separated migrant children from their families, nor put them in cages.’’
Morales, a former coca union leader who once led nationwide protests before reaching the presidency, has in the past backed late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s criticism of the U.S. Morales was in position to criticize Trump because Bolivia holds one of the 10 non-permanent slots on the Security Council.
Trump decided to chair the meeting as part of a broader attempt to build international support for a pressure campaign targeting Iran. But Bolivia and other countries on the council rejected Trump’s view that the Iran nuclear accord negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, was “horrible’’ and “one-sided.’’
“Bolivia categorically condemns the unilateral actions imposed by the government of the United States of America against Iran,’’ Morales said. “Likewise, we condemn the fact that the United States has withdrawn from the JCPOA, hiding behind pretext to continue its policy of interference of its brother country, Iran.’’
Trump, who treated world leaders to his own list of grievances during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, didn’t offer much of a response to Morales.
“Thank you, Mr. President,’’ he said, before ceding the floor to the Peruvian representative.
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