Trump says could give UN speech even if other leaders stay away

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The hall will likely be far emptier than last year if US President Donald Trump speaks at the next United Nations General Assembly in person
The hall will likely be far emptier than last year if US President Donald Trump speaks at the next United Nations General Assembly in person Ludovic MARIN AFP/File

US President Donald Trump said Thursday that he wants to give his speech in person to the United Nations at its big annual gathering in September, even if many world leaders are expected to stay away due to the coronavirus.

“I’m thinking about going directly to the UN to do the speech. A lot of people will not, because of COVID, will not be able to be there,” he said.

“I think it better represents the country. I feel a semi-obligation as the president of the United States to be at the United Nations to deliver what will be an important speech,” Trump told reporters.

He added that the General Assembly hall in New York will likely be partly empty.

“This will not be like in the past,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

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The main part of this year’s UN General Assembly session, when world leaders take turns to give speeches, runs through the week starting September 21 and ends on September 29.

The high-profile event will come just over one month before the US election where Trump faces a tough fight against his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

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