WASHINGTON — The United States has slashed the two-year budget for the United Nations by $285 million, delivering on a promise to cut spending on the agency after the U.N. Security Council overwhelmingly denounced President Trump’s decision to move the country’s embassy in Israel.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley hailed the decision to negotiate a reduction to the overall 2018-2019 budget as one of “a host of successes” by the U.S. “(W)e reduced the UN’s bloated management and support functions, bolstered support for key U.S. priorities throughout the world, and instilled more discipline and accountability throughout the UN system,” Haley said in a statement. “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.”
Ahead of last week’s U.N. General Assembly vote to declare the U.S. decision to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “null and void,” Haley warned in a tweet that “the U.S. will be taking names.” After the assembly voted 128-9 Thursday to denounce Trump’s decision to move the embassy and declare Jerusalem Israel’s capital, Haley and other U.S. officials promised to revisit the U.S.’s role in the organization, including the size of its financial contributions.
“America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that,” Haley said. “But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N., and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted after the vote: “Given its tendency to be forum for anti-Semitism & anti-Americanism, reevaluation of US role as single largest donor to #UN is long overdue.”
Earlier this year, Rubio introduced legislation to withhold U.S. funding to the U.N. and all affiliated agencies until they stopped what Rubio called “systemic bias and targeting of the Jewish state of Israel.” Trump also threatened to withhold “billions” in funding from the U.N. member countries that voted in favor of denouncing the U.S.’s embassy relocation.