New U.S. envoy: Trump goal at UN is to show strength

Edith M. Lederer
Associated Press

United Nations — New U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley arrived at the United Nations Friday announcing a new way the U.S. does business: The Trump administration’s goal is to show U.S. strength, speak out, and defend its allies — and as for countries opposing America, “We’re taking names.”

The former South Carolina governor said the United States will respond “accordingly” to opponents.

Haley spoke to the news media immediately after she walked into U.N. headquarters for the first time, saying “it’s a thrill to be here” and declaring that at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, “You are gonna see a change in the way we do business. It’s no longer about working harder, it’s about working smarter.”

In the halls of U.N. headquarters, the Trump administration’s approach to the 193-member world organization has been a subject of non-stop diplomatic discussion, speculation and concern.

The United States is a permanent veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, the U.N.’s most powerful body, and pays 22 percent of its regular budget and over 28 percent of the costs of its far-flung peacekeeping operations.

Haley said President Donald Trump wants her to put “fresh eyes” on the United Nations.

“Everything that’s working we’re going to make it better,” she said. “Everything that’s not working we’re going to try to fix, and anything that seems to be obsolete and not necessary we’re going to do away with.”

In blunt language, with none of the diplomatic nuances characteristic of discussions here, Haley outlined the new U.S. approach to the United Nations.

“Our goal with the administration is to show value at the U.N., and the way that we’ll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, and have the backs of our allies and make sure that our allies have our back as well,” Haley said.

“For those that don’t have our back we’re taking names,” she said. “We will make a point to respond to that accordingly. But this is a time of strength. This is a time of action. This is a time of getting things done.”

Haley then got on an elevator and went to the 38th floor where she presented her credentials to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who became U.N. chief on Jan. 1. They then went into his office for a private discussion.