"They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we're watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don’t care," Trump told reporters at the White House ahead of the vote.
In an official statement a few days after the vote was passed last Thursday by the 193-member chamber by a decisive 128-9, with 35 abstentions declaring Trump’s declaration “null and void,” the US delegation to the UN announced its decision to slash its funds, but also maintained that it wanted to improve the world body.
“While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we’ll continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency while protecting our interests,” said Washington’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
“Among a host of other successes, the United States negotiated a reduction of over $285 million off the 2016-2017 final budget,” the statement began, before listing the positive outcome the US administration’s actions have thus far had on the UN.
“In addition to these significant cost savings, we reduced the UN’s bloated management and support functions, bolstered support for key US priorities throughout the world, and instilled more discipline and accountability throughout the UN system.”
The statement also appeared to echo the sentiments expounded by President Trump when he promised the US would tighten its belt on UN spending if it voted against his decision and that his administration would not be “taken advantage of.”
“This isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they’re doing … People of the united state, people that live here, our great citizens that love this country, they’re tired of this country being taken advantage of and we’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer,” Trump said
In a similar, albeit more diplomatic phrasing of the threat, the latest statement by the US following its decision to cut the budget said:
“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked. This historic reduction in spending—in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN—is a big step in the right direction.”
While the precise manner in which the UN will feel the pinch of the US’s decision is not yet known, the US remains the largest contributor to the world organization, streaming $3.3 billion into its coffers each year, a figure that constitutes 22% of the UN’s overall annual budget