Donald Trump said last night in his State of the Union speech that “dozens” of countries that receive aid from the U.S. but voted in the U.N. against his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital are “enemies of America” and should lose American aid.
Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the U.S. Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this decision. In 2016, American taxpayers generously sent those same countries more than 20 billion dollars in aid. That is why, tonight, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America– not enemies of America.
The speech as drafted did not include the word “enemies.” Trump evidently chose to add that language. The draft said only, “I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.”
The General Assembly vote was 128-9 with 35 abstaining. Among the countries that according to US AID receive aid that voted against the U.S. are Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Yemen, Pakistan, Egypt and Jordan. His category of “enemies” would also apparently include Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, and Britain, all of which receive nominal aid from the U.S. and voted against the U.S. at the U.N., per the US AID site.
The speech did not mention Palestine, and did not tout Trump’s avowed effort to make peace between Palestine and Israel.
The Jerusalem Post reports, “Trump did not specify what legislation he would like to see Congress pass. But his administration has been exploring ways to cut foreign aid for months. In recent weeks, Trump has also directly threatened to cut aid of all sorts to the Palestinian Authority, and to international bodies biased toward it in its ongoing conflict with Israel
(The remarks are at 1:37:00 below)
Minority leader Chuck Schumer rose and applauded Trump’s initial statement about Jerusalem, though many other Democratic Senators remained seated. The Jerusalem Post said that Ivanka Trump smiled when Trump gave his Jerusalem lines.