President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel earlier this month garnered sharp criticisms. In a move that will likely worsen diplomatic tensions, United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley warned the U.N. Trump would be "taking names" on "countries who voted against us" during a U.N. General Assembly vote on Thursday. Global ambassadors will decide whether to back a non-binding resolution criticizing President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem, and Haley wants everyone to know their votes will be remembered.
Haley stated in a letter that "the president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us. We will take note of each and every vote on this issue," Bloomberg News reports. The vote will take place during an emergency sessions called by the General Assembly, a rarely-used tactic that signals other ambassadors believed the Israel issue needed to be addressed immediately.
Making her warning public, Haley criticized her U.N. counterparts in a tweet on Tuesday, writing, "At the U.N. we're always asked to do more & give more." She added that "we don't expect those we've helped to target us" when the U.S. decides to move an embassy. When the choice comes to a vote Thursday, "the US will be taking names," she wrote.
Despite Haley's warnings, the resolution is expected to pass the General Assembly. The U.N. Security Council already voted on a resolution telling countries not to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Monday, but Haley vetoed it, making her the first U.S. ambassador to use the Security Council veto power in more than six years.
She defended her decision to veto on Monday, calling the Security Council's vote "an insult" that "won't be forgotten," adding:
The fact that this veto is being done in defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America's role in the Middle East peace process is not a source of embarrassment for us. It should be an embarrassment to the remainder of the Security Council.
No country has the authority to cast a veto in the General Assembly, though, so Thursday's vote will stick if the resolution if passed.
When Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel on Dec. 6, he said the U.S. would "finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel's capital."
This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It's something that has to be done.
The announcement shocked much of the world, and U.S. allies criticized the president's "unhelpful" decision, as British Prime Minister Theresa May called it.
After Haley's veto earlier this week, foreign leaders had even more criticisms for U.S. diplomacy. A statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry called the Security Council's overwhelming support of the resolution withdrawing Trump's decision "the most concrete indication of the illegitimacy." He further asserted that Haley's veto left the Security Council "in a state of failure."
Haley's warning to her U.N. counterparts this week is consistent with her approach from the very beginning. On her first day at the U.N., she told reporters:
Our goal with the administration is to show value at the U.N. and the way that we'll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure that our allies have our back as well. For those that don't have our back, we're taking names, we will make points to respond to that accordingly.
She believes if the U.S. has its allies' backs, they need to return the favor. It's unclear how Haley and Trump will respond to countries that support the resolution criticizing their Jerusalem decision, but they made it clear they'll remember who voted against them.