President Donald Trump is reportedly "relishing" being the center of attention at the United Nations this week -- even as world leaders warn that his "targeted bluster" is no substitute for actual diplomacy.
Politico said on Wednesday that Trump's presence is "dominating the United Nations this week. And he seems to be loving it."
The article said that Trump is benefitting from the absence of other larger-than-life world leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and China's President Xi Jinping and using the opportunity to glad-hand and schmooze with some of the world's most powerful leaders.
"Trump’s Tuesday address here annoyed allies and adversaries with bellicose rhetoric, like his threat to 'totally destroy' North Korea. But Trump seemed to relish telling off rival nations whose diplomats were seated within a stone’s throw of him," said Politico's Nahal Toosi.
His aggressive nationalism at the podium notwithstanding, however, Trump is aggressively pressing the flesh behind the scenes, according to White House aides.
“People want to meet him because he’s got star power,” enthused an unnamedWhite House official. “And he is sort of warm in a more intimate setting. He still says the same things, but he tries to be everyone’s friend. He wants everyone to like him.”
Not everyone does, however. After his bombastic speech on Tuesday, Iran's foreign minister accused Trump of spreading "ignorant hate speech" and Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro -- who was not in attendance but watched the speech -- called Trump "the new Hitler."
The Swedish foreign minister -- an ostensible ally -- called Tuesday address "the wrong speech, at the wrong time, to the wrong audience."
“It’s important to distinguish between Trump’s targeted bluster and the realities of U.N. diplomacy,” said Richard Gowan -- a U.N. expert with the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Trump can keep calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un silly names, but he still needs the U.N. Security Council to back him up on dealing with North Korea.”
A recent survey of world populations showed that only two countries in the world think that Trump is doing a better job than former President Barack Obama, Russia and Israel.