U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley takes a jab at countries who voted against the United States with a defiant speech in the General Assembly. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
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After a withering speech on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly, Ambassador Nikki Haley showed that she is not yet ready to let bygones be bygones after the General Assembly voted Thursday to condemn the United States’ decision to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.
Haley issued an invitation to attend a Jan. 3 reception to thank the 65 United Nations member countries who did not vote to condemn the embassy’s move to Jerusalem for their “friendship to the United States.”
The 8 countries who voted no with the #US on the #UNGA #Jerusalem resolution, the 35 who abstained and the 21 who did not cast a vote have been invited to a reception by @nikkihaley as a “thank you for your friendship to the United States” pic.twitter.com/x0qRs4AZlZ
— Michelle Nichols (@michellenichols) December 21, 2017
The General Assembly voted 128-9 against the U.S. decision. Most of the 65 countries on the list either abstained (35 countries) or did not vote (21 countries). Only eight countries voted to actively support the United States on the measure.
Before the vote, Haley made headlines with a defiant speech that promised that the United States would move the embassy to Jerusalem regardless of the vote, and also threatened to take action against any countries that voted for the measure.
In the speech, Haley warned, “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in this assembly.”
She also explicitly threatened that the vote might impact the United States’ willingness to continue its contributions to the United Nations, and to the foreign aid of any country that voted for the resolution.
In response to questions about the vote, President Donald Trump echoed these sentiments, saying “Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care. But this isn't like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars. We're not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
Much of the foreign aid distributed by the United States is appropriated directly by Congress to specific countries and is not subject to revocation by Trump. But the Trump administration does retain some ability to direct discretionary aids through some programs that are targeted at specific congressional goals.
It was not immediately clear if the administration intended to follow through with this threat in more substantive ways, such as vetoing foreign aid to these countries, redirecting discretionary aid to other countries, or targeting United Nations funding. However, Haley’s symbolic gesture may be an indicator of things to come.
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Sara Gonzales is the host of “The News & Why It Matters.”