US should cut foreign aid after lopsided UN vote against Trump, NC Republican proposes

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at the U.N. General Assembly, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at the U.N. General Assembly, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. AP

President Donald Trump vowed to cut aid to countries that voted Thursday at the United Nations against the U.S. decision to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley echoed that sentiment, claiming the United States would remember this vote.

The rhetoric didn’t stop more than 120 countries from voting against the United States, including allies like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and South Korea. Thirty-five nations abstained including Australia, Canada and Mexico. Just seven other nations voted with the U.S. and Israel.

Now a North Carolina Republican representative is promising legislation to stop foreign aid to countries that consistently vote against the United States.

“Once again, many of our ‘friends’ at the U.N. are voting against the United States and Israel. We should look closely at holding these countries accountable with respect to the significant U.S. foreign aid they receive,” said Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte. “Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital since the time of King David. Israel’s legislature and courts are in Jerusalem. Why should we continue to pretend otherwise?”

Asked what the criteria for denying aid would be, Pittenger said: “We are looking for a pattern. This vote should be a factor of consideration.”

Trump announced last week that the U.S. would move its embassy to Jerusalem, but did not specify a timetable for the move. The current embassy is in Tel Aviv.

Critics of Trump’s decision said the status of Jerusalem must be decided in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The nonbinding resolution was sponsored by Yemen and Turkey.

Pittenger is a co-sponsor of the Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel Act, which calls on the United States to move its embassy by Jan. 1, 2019.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Jordan are among the largest recipients of American military aid outside of Israel, according to CNN. The United States is fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” Haley said before the vote.

“America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that.”

Brian Murphy: 202-383-6089, @MurphinDC