U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday claimed President Donald Trump’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly a day earlier drew laughs because world leaders “loved his honesty” and “respect” him.
Trump’s boastful comment describing his administration as one of the most accomplished in U.S. history sparked laughter not because attendees of the annual summit found the remark ridiculous ― but because it was so “honest,” Haley said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
“They loved how honest he is,” Haley said. “It’s not diplomatic and they find it funny. ... When he goes and he is very truthful, they kind of were taken back by it.”
She continued: “All day yesterday, they were falling over themselves to get a picture with him, to talk about how great his speech was. ... They love that he’s honest with them and they’ve never seen anything like it, so there’s respect there. I saw that the media was trying to make it something disrespectful. That’s not what it was ― they love to be with him.”
Trump had appeared to be caught off guard on Tuesday when the United Nations General Assembly Hall erupted in laughter just a few minutes into his speech.
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. ... So true,” the president said, eliciting several muffled laughs.
“Didn’t expect that reaction but that’s OK,” Trump responded with a chuckle, prompting even more laughter from the audience of world leaders, their aides and the media.
Trump later told reporters that his boastful comment was intended to be funny.
“Oh, it was great,” he said. “Well, that was meant to get some laughter, but it was great.”
This article has been updated with additional comments from Trump.