USA Today

VB The Wise: Trump and the UN

Saying what needs to be said

Doug 'VB' Goudie
September 19, 2017 - 5:30 am

   Have you ever had to write a speech for your boss?  If so, when you wrote it were there two drafts of the speech - the one he would deliver, and the one you wished he'd deliver?  Well, whatever you think about POTUS Trump, it must be very liberating to be his speechwriter, because you only need write one speech - the one you wished he'd deliver.  After all, Trump has repeatedly shown a willingness to say what others would only whisper behind closed doors, and Trump says it right to the organization's face.

   Take Monday's visit to the United Nations.  Asked to speak about UN reform, and while sitting immediately next to the UN Secretary-General, POTUS Trump offered up the following, "In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement.  We seek a UN that regains the trust of people from around the world, and n order to achieve this, the UN must hold every level of management accountable... and focus on results rather than process."  I can only imagine the grin on the speechwriter's face as he stared at his television watching the President deliver those words exactly as HE, the speechwriter, intended them to  be.  Any other politician would have handed that speech back, with a smile, and said "you know I can't say that," but Trump said it stone-faced.

   And how do I know other politicians wouldn't have delivered this same speech?  Well, let's take Hillary Clinton for example.  What was the famous line she told Goldman Sachs in that now famous speech (as made public by Wikileaks)?  "If everybody's watching, you know, all of the backroom discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least.  So you need both a public and a private position."  So in her case, the public position would have been "the UN is awesome", and the private position would have been "the UN is awesome, but the Clinton Foundation's coffers seem to be running a little light this month..." (And that, Hillary, is "What Happened".)

   Look, do I believe Trump can wrangle meaningful reform out of the UN?  NO.  But isn't it at least refreshing to have someone tell them "they suck" to their face?  After all, I couldn't have been the only one who found it refreshing when he stood in front of NATO headquarters earlier this year and said, "And I never asked what the new NATO headquarters cost - I refuse to do that."  So to now be able to add the UN scolding to that NATO shade is very pleasing.  And if you think it's pleasing to me, think about how pleasing it must be to the speechwriter.

   More wisdom next week.



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