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Trump’s ‘discouraging’ UN speech showed lack of leadership: Danish PM

Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has called the speech given by US president Donald Trump at the United Nations general assembly ‘discouraging’.

Trump’s 'discouraging' UN speech showed lack of leadership: Danish PM
PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen with Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at the Global SDG Business Hub Launch in New York City on September 24th. Photo: Loren Wohl/Ritzau Scanpix

In the speech on Tuesday, Trump explicitly rejected “the ideology of globalism” at the United Nations, the home of multilateral cooperation, choosing instead to talk up the “doctrine of patriotism”.

Rasmussen, who tried to talk Trump out of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement in 2017, said he was disappointed by the content of the UN speech, which lacked references to the environment and human rights.

“The content (of the speech) was in many ways discouraging for those of use that believe in international cooperation,” Rasmussen said.

“It was all about America’s interests being more important than anything else and that, provided you don’t get in their way, you can do whatever you want,” the PM added.

During the UN address, Trump singled out a number of countries for praise, appearing to express his personal relationships with leaders rather than longstanding US alliances.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was praised, as were Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, whose roles in the bombing of Yemeni cities and human rights records were not remarked upon.

The only European ally to receive a mention was Poland, whose president, Andrzej Duda, visited Trump at the White House this month and has referred to him in glowing terms.

“As the world’s richest country and the leader of the free world, I think (the United States) should be responsible for looking further than its own borders. But that’s where I saw an absence of leadership,” Rasmussen said.

The Danish PM said he agreed with the sentiment that national leaders should prioritise the interests of their own countries, but maintained international cooperation should be a key basis of that.

“Denmark became the rich country it is today because we have been able to trade with the whole world,” he said.

“But we unfortunately have an American president who does not profess any noticeable value in the international, rule-based structures we have,” he continued.

Rasmussen also said that he had seen cause for optimism while in New York City for the UN general assembly.

“On Monday I participated in a meeting on sustainable energy which was attended by the mayor of New York [Bill de Blasio, ed.],” he said.

“The largest city in the United States is completely dedicated to the sustainability and climate goals, and you can say the same thing about California, whose governor [Jerry Brown, ed.] I recently met.

“So I see many signs that America is being inspired by the Scandinavian model and the values we stand for,” the PM continued.

“But whether that has reached all the way to the White House is another matter,” he added.

READ ALSO: 'Not a new standard for diplomacy': Danish PM on tweet to Trump

AMBASSADOR

Trump’s ambassador to Denmark leaves country as president’s term ends

After three years as United States Ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands has stepped down from the post and left Copenhagen.

Trump’s ambassador to Denmark leaves country as president’s term ends
Outgoing United States Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The now-former ambassador confirmed she had taken leave of the Danish capital via Twitter.

US president Donald Trump’s term ends on Wednesday, with President-elect Joe Biden to be inaugurated at 6pm Danish time.

“It's been a privilege serving the Trump Administration for over 3 years as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. I’ve enjoyed promoting USA-Denmark-Faroe Islands-Greenland relations,” Sands tweeted.

“I have departed Copenhagen,” she added in a follow-up tweet.

In a video included in the tweets, Sands mentions her highlights of her time as ambassador. These include the re-opening of the US consulate in Greenland capital Nuuk alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Sands, who took over as ambassador in 2017 after being appointed by Trump, is likely to be remembered as the incumbent at the time of Trump’s overtures towards purchasing Greenland, an autonomous territory within the Danish kingdom.

After Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen dismissed Trump’s suggestion that the United States could buy the Arctic territory from Denmark, the US president promptly cancelled an official visit to Denmark scheduled for September 2019.

Sands met with the Danish government on several occasions in an attempt to take the heat out of a potential diplomatic dispute.

READ ALSO: Danes pour scorn on Trump after state visit postponement

More recently, Sands was criticised for tweeting an incorrect claim that her own vote had not been counted in the country's general election.

The ambassador posted on her personal Twitter account a screenshot which she claimed showed her absentee ballot in the state of Pennsylvania had not been registered. She also made several other posts on the site following the US election in support of Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.

Several other Twitter users – as well as the New York Times – looked up Sands' vote on the Pennsylvania state government website and found it was in fact registered.

READ ALSO: US ambassador to Denmark makes incorrect Twitter claim about own vote

After a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC on January 6th, Sands was officially contacted by foreign minister Jeppe Kofod. The minister called for Trump to concede defeat in the election and ensure a peaceful transition of power.

Newspaper Berlingske reported that this was the first time in history that a Danish foreign minister had officially protested over internal affairs in the United States.

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