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Friday February 28th, 2020 12:15AM

The Latest: Trump says chaos in Venezuela is unacceptable

By The Associated Press
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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's appearance at the U.N. General Assembly (all times local):

12:18 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the political and economic chaos in Venezuela is unacceptable. But he's avoiding commenting on questions about whether the U.S. would ever intervene in the South American country.

Trump notes that the country — once one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere — is spiraling downward. Venezuela's inflation and homicide rates are among the highest in the world and more than 2 million people have fled the violence and conflict in recent years.

The Trump administration on Tuesday slapped financial sanctions on four members of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's inner circle, including his wife and the nation's vice president, on allegations of corruption.

Trump spoke while attending the U.N. General Assembly after meeting with Colombia President Ivan Duque (DOO-kay).

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12:01 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Iran will eventually want to negotiate a deal with him because the country is basically "failing."

Trump says "everything about Iran is failing right now." He described its inflation as the worst in the world and its currency as a "disaster."

He says Iran's leadership will "at some point" want to talk or risk experiencing the "worst economic trouble of any country in the world."

Trump commented on Iran as he met with Colombia's president in New York on Tuesday.

Trump said in a Tuesday speech at the U.N. that the U.S. has begun an "economic pressure" campaign against Iran over nuclear ambitions and behavior in the region.

Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are both attending the U.N. session, but do not plan to meet.

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11:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump's address to the U.N. General Assembly has drawn blank stares, headshakes and even laughter from wary world leaders.

His opening line Tuesday, as he bragged about how successful his administration has been, was widely laughed at by the assembled group of world leaders.

Trump briefly appeared flustered before remarking that it was not the reaction he expected.

Trump has long claimed that his predecessors' weak leadership prompted other nations "to laugh" at the U.S.

Some in the audience also grumbled during Trump's remarks when he said "we reject the ideology" of globalism and criticized nations such as Germany for agreeing to an oil pipeline with Russia.

When Trump criticized socialism, a member of the Swedish delegation frowned with disapproval.

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11:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he has asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY'-oh) to take a "hard look" at U.S. foreign assistance.

Trump said in Tuesday's speech to the U.N. General Assembly the U.S. is the world's largest donor of foreign aid "but few give anything to us." He says that's why he has asked Pompeo to review the billions of dollars in foreign aid the U.S. hands out each year.

Trump says the review will examine what is working and what is not working and whether countries that receive U.S. aid "have our interests at heart."

Trump says going forward "we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends."

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11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump is targeting China, saying the U.S. will no longer tolerate unfair trade arrangements that allow countries to dump their products in America, subsidize their goods, target U.S. industries and manipulate currency to gain unfair advantages.

Trump told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, "The U.S. will not be taken advantage of any longer." Trump says those days are over and the U.S. will "no longer tolerate such abuse."

Trump went ahead Monday with a tax hike on $200 billion of Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated by imposing penalties on $60 billion of U.S. products.

Trump says he has great respect for the leader of China but the U.S. trade imbalance with Beijing "cannot be tolerated."

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11:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump is asking the world's nations to join the U.S. in isolating Iran over behavior he deems aggressive.

Trump said in a speech Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly he has launched an "economic pressure" campaign to deny Iran the money it needs to advance a "bloody agenda" of havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen.

Trump notes the U.S. withdrawal this year from a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and the reinstatement of U.S. economic sanctions.

Trump says Iran does not respect its neighbors or their borders. He says a regime that chants "death to America" and threatens Israel with destruction must not be allowed to have the means to deliver a nuclear warhead.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (hah-SAHN' roh-HAH'-nee) accuses the U.S. of adopting a hostile stance toward his country.

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11 a.m.

A year ago at the United Nations President Donald Trump derided North Korea's Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man," but this year his message is different: Thank you.

Trump addressed the General Assembly on Tuesday and said he appreciated the steps Kim has taken to denuclearize.

Trump notes "missiles and rockets are no longer flying" from North Korea and threatening its neighbors.

Trump met with Kim in Singapore in June. The White House is working toward scheduling a second summit.

Despite Trump's praise, the administration has said Pyongyang is slow-walking toward fulfilling the goals set in Singapore.

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10:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is asserting American sovereignty and rejecting "global governance, control and domination."

Trump said Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly he honors the right of every nation to pursue its own customs, beliefs and traditions. He says the United States will never tell other nations how to live, work or worship.

But Trump says the United States expects other nations to "honor America's sovereignty in return."

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10:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump is highlighting U.S. gains under his watch as he opens his address to the U.N. General Assembly — and is getting a laugh.

Trump told leaders from around the world Tuesday the American economy is "booming like never before" and his administration has accomplished more in less than two years than almost any other administration. His boast elicited laughter from the scores of heads of state and delegates in the audience for the speech.

Trump responded by saying, "I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK."

Trump says the U.S. is a "stronger, safer and richer country" than when he took office in January 2017. He says "we are standing up for America and for the American people, and we are also standing up for the world."

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10:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he won't meet with Iran's leadership "until they change their tune."

Questioned as he arrived at United Nations headquarters Tuesday, Trump said Iran has acted "very badly." He says the U.S. is doing "many things" right now with respect to Iran, including sanctions.

Trump earlier this year withdrew the U.S. from a nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers and reinstated economic sanctions.

Trump says he looks forward to having a "great relationship" with Iran but "Iran has to change its tune."

While Trump spoke in sour terms about current relations with Iran, he spoke glowingly of his budding friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump and Kim met in June in Singapore. Trump says, "We're doing very well with North Korea."

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10:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is holding up the whole world.

Trump ran a bit late for his once-a-year speech at the U.N. General Assembly, forcing organizers to change the order of speakers.

Trump was scheduled to speak second at Tuesday's session, after Brazilian President Michel Temer. Instead, Temer's speech was followed by an awkward pause as U.N. officials prepared the podium to accommodate the No. 3 speaker, Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno Garces, who is in a wheelchair.

Trump's motorcade arrived during Moreno's speech at the U.N. headquarters in New York. The White House did not immediately explain why Trump was late.

Trump's "America First" policies and criticism of allies have clashed with the multilateral spirit of the U.N. General Assembly.

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7:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he has no plans to meet this week with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (hah-SAHN' roh-HAH'-nee) "despite requests."

Both leaders are attending an annual U.N. gathering in New York. Trump wasn't specific in Tuesday's tweet about the origin of the "requests" for a meeting.

But Rouhani also has ruled out meeting, telling NBC News on Monday conditions are not ripe for talks. The Iranian leader accuses the U.S. of adopting a hostile stance toward his country.

Trump withdrew the U.S. from a nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers and reinstated economic sanctions on Iran. Trump says in the tweet that "Maybe someday in the future" he and Rouhani will meet.

Trump says: "I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!"

___

12:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump returns to the pinnacle of global diplomacy when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly.

Ahead of his speech Tuesday morning, White House aides cast Trump's New York visit as an opportunity to assert American sovereignty before the multinational body.

He is expected to be unapologetic about his decisions to engage with the erstwhile pariah North Korea, remove the U.S. from the Iran nuclear accord, and object to U.N. aid programs he believes are contrary to American interests.

On Wednesday, Trump will chair for the first time a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the topic of counter-proliferation.

The four days of choreographed foreign affairs stand in contrast to wild twists and disorder in domestic politics, highlighted by the controversy over Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

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