President Donald Trump made winking overtures to right-wing nationalism during his Tuesday speech before the United Nations General Assembly, embracing rhetoric about “globalism” and the fear of allowing certain people to “replace” Western cultural heritage.
During an otherwise tepid speech—in both delivery and content—Trump boasted about the amount his administration has spent on the U.S. military, adding that he has kept America as the “most powerful nation” on earth.
“Americans know that in a world where others seek conquest and domination, our nation must be strong in wealth, in might, and in spirit,” Trump stated. “That is why the United States vigorously defends the traditions and customs that have made us who we are.”
From there, the president said that each country has its own “cherished history, culture and heritage” before insisting—in an echoing of right-wing fears about multiculturalism—that “patriots” must protect their nations’ identities.
“The free world must embrace its national foundations,” Trump declared. “It must not attempt to erase them or replace them. Looking around, and all over this large, magnificent planet, the truth is plain to see. If you want freedom, take pride in your country. If you want democracy, hold on to your sovereignty. And if you want peace, love your nation.”
After nodding at right-wing fears that Western culture is being replaced by immigrants from non-European countries, the president picked up on another overarching theme of nationalism: Anger toward globalism.
“The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots,” he stated. “The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations, who protect their citizens, respect their neighbors and honor the differences that make each country special and unique.”
Before ending his speech, which saw him rather languid and low-energy as he read from a teleprompter, the president also brought up the Second Amendment while saying he will “never ratify the UN arms treaty.”
“The United States will uphold the right to keep and bear arms. We will uphold our Second Amendment,” Trump said. “The core rights and values that America defends today were inscribed in America’s founding documents.”