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United Nations General Assembly 2018

This series decodes deals, political moves, and gossip at the world’s biggest political summit.

Trump missed his UNGA speaking spot
Reuters/Carlos Barria
Trump’s presidential vehicle “The Beast” waits for him outside Trump Tower.

Donald Trump was late for his UN speaking spot and Ecuador’s president took his place

Max de Haldevang
By Max de Haldevang

Geopolitics reporter

US president Donald Trump was late for the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, missing his speaking spot. Ecuador’s president Lenín Moreno Garcés taking his place.

Trump was seen at the UN headquarters on Reuters’ live feed around 10:15am—seven minutes after he was due to begin speaking. The White House press pool emailed at 10:08am that it was on the way to the UN in a presidential motorcade from Trump Tower, but that it had had no sighting of Trump.

Vice president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and press secretary Sarah Sanders walked into the General Assembly hall around 10:28am. Attendees immediately started murmuring under their breaths, disrupting Moreno Garcés’ speech.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on why Trump was late.

As the host nation, the US president always speaks second and the UN calendar planned for Trump to take that slot as usual. Trump tweeted an hour earlier that he planned to speak.

Ecuador’s Moreno Garcés used his slot to rail at the US blockade of Cuba and global powers’ spending on weapons. Trump took the podium afterwards, more than half an hour after he was slated to speak.

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