Trump says UN just a club for people to ‘have a good time

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Days after the United Nations voted to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Donald Trump questioned its effectiveness Monday, saying it’s just a club for people to “have a good time.”

The president-elect wrote on Twitter that the U.N. has “such great potential,” but it has become “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!”

On Friday, Trump warned, “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th,” referring to the day he takes office.

The decision by the Obama administration to abstain from Friday’s U.N. vote brushed aside Trump’s demands that the U.S. exercise its veto and provided a climax to years of icy relations with Israel’s leadership.

Trump told The Associated Press last December that he wanted to be “very neutral” on Israel-Palestinian issues. But his tone became decidedly more pro-Israel as the presidential campaign progressed. He has spoken disparagingly of Palestinians, saying they have been “taken over” by or are condoning militant groups.

Trump’s tweet Monday about the U.N. ignores much of the work that goes on in the 193-member global organization.

This year the U.N. Security Council has approved over 70 legally binding resolutions, including new sanctions on North Korea and measures tackling conflicts and authorizing the U.N.’s far-flung peacekeeping operations around the world. The General Assembly has also approved dozens of resolutions on issues, like the role of diamonds in fueling conflicts; condemned human rights abuses in Iran and North Korea; and authorized an investigation of alleged war crimes in Syria.

Trump’s criticism of the U.N. is by no means unique. While the organization does engage in large-scale humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts, its massive bureaucracy has long been a source of controversy. The organization has been accused by some Western governments of being inefficient and frivolous, while developing nations have said it is overly influenced by wealthier nations.

Trump tweeted later Monday, “The world was gloomy before I won — there was no hope. Now the market is up nearly 10 percent and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars!”

Markets are up since Trump won the general election, although not quite by that much. The Standard & Poor’s 500 is up about 6 percent since Election Day, while the Dow has risen more than 8 percent.

As for holiday spending, auditing and accounting firm Deloitte projected in September that total 2016 holiday sales were expected to exceed $1 trillion, representing a 3.6 percent to 4.0 percent increase in holiday sales from November through January.

Finally, Trump took to Twitter again late Monday to complain about media coverage of his charitable foundation. He wrote that of the “millions of dollars” he has contributed to or raised for the Donald J. Trump Foundation, all of it “is given to charity, and media won’t report.”

Trump said Saturday he will dissolve his charitable foundation before taking office to avoid conflicts of interest. The New York attorney general’s office has been investigating the foundation following media reports that foundation spending went to benefit Trump’s campaign.

The president-elect is spending the holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He had no public schedule Monday.

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VIVIAN SALAMA

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