What could be next for Trump administration after loss at UN?

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Hours after 65 countries abstained, voted absent, or voted against a United Nations resolution condemning President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there, they got an invitation from U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley– to a party– to say “thank you for your friendship to the United States.”

The reception, which will be held on January 3, is just one public sign of how seriously the administration says it is taking that vote.

Haley had warned the U.N.’s General Assembly that “the United States will remember this day” when it was “singled out for attack,” promising the U.S. would be “taking names” and could pull funding from the U.N. or individual countries.

President Trump made similar threats, telling reporters on Wednesday, “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us… We are watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We will save a lot.”

But so far, that’s all still hypothetical.

“The President’s foreign policy team has been empowered to explore various options going forward with other nations. However, no decisions have been made,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Thursday. But she added that the vote “is not the only factor that the administration would take into consideration in dealing with our foreign relations” or any individual countries.

One hundred and twenty-eight countries voted in favor of the resolution, despite the very vocal campaign by Haley and her boss, President Trump. It’s a list that includes some of America’s closest allies, including 20 of 29 NATO members, major non-NATO allies like Japan and South Korea, and major U.S. aid recipients and partners like Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt.

Haley’s team argued her warnings made a difference because, compared to previous votes, the U.S. was able to pick off some detractors. In 2009, 143 countries voted in favor of a similar resolution, and 162 did so in November 2006.

“It’s clear that many countries prioritized their relationship with the United States over an unproductive attempt to isolate us for a decision that was our sovereign right to make,” a spokesperson for the U.S. mission said Thursday.

Among those who voted “with” the U.S. were countries with the some of the largest U.N. peacekeeping forces in their borders, which would be deeply hurt by any U.S. funding cuts. For example, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic both voted absent, while South Sudan and Haiti abstained.

While the threats from Haley and Trump may end up being empty ones, critics say they are still damaging to America’s standing in the international arena.

Former CIA Director John Brennan called the rhetoric “beyond outrageous” in a tweet, saying it shows Trump “expects blind loyalty and subservience from everyone — qualities usually found in narcissistic, vengeful autocrats.”

Trump’s new stance on Jerusalem could also hurt U.S. efforts to lead the Middle East peace process. The Trump administration says it believes it can still be an arbiter of any settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians – but Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has denied that is still the case.

“We will not accept the U.S. as the mediator in the peace process, nor are we going to accept any plan from the U.S. side,” he said in his Christmas letter to the Palestinian people.

Trump’s new stance on Jerusalem could also hurt U.S. efforts to lead the Middle East peace process. The Trump administration says it believes it can still be an arbiter of any settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians – but Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has denied that is still the case.

“We will not accept the U.S. as the mediator in the peace process, nor are we going to accept any plan from the U.S. side,” he said in his Christmas letter to the Palestinian people.

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