There are many, many stark differences between how President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations. Everything from policy toward Israel and Iran, to the use of nicknames to ridicule dictators before saying they will be “totally destroyed.” (He called Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” in the speech.)
However, of the many changes in cadence and posturing by the two presidents, there was one moment in the speech that separates the two leaders more than any: the full-throated ripping of the bark off the political ideologies of socialism and communism. As Trump savaged the socialist and communist dictatorships of Venezuela and Cuba, he said:
“The socialist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried.”
Trump went on to call Venezuela a “collapsing” regime and said its people are “starving” under “disastrous rule.”
Then, President Trump said something Americans have not heard since Ronald Reagan. Trump savaged communism and socialism as failed ideologies, lambasting and lampooning the nations that practice it. Trump said:
“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.”
Upon saying this line, the United Nations floor burst into applause. A quick shot of the reactions shows many delegations laughing and applauding.Screenshot/CNN
“As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal — that goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country, and restore their democracy.”
This was Trump’s Reagan moment. This was Trump’s Axis of Evil speech. This was America First as policy.
Watch the U.N. reaction to Trump’s socialism line below.