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Ambassador Nikki Haley rips 'patently ridiculous' UN report on US poverty

Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, criticized a U.N. report that gave the U.S. an unfavorable grade on issues of poverty and economic inequality. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, criticized the U.N. for a report that highlighted poverty and economic equality in the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In the latest rift between the U.S. and the U.N., Haley questioned why the international organization would focus on America's economic issues when there are so many countries in much more dire situations.

"It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America," Haley wrote in a letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is among lawmakers calling for the Trump administration to present a poverty reduction plan.

What's the story?

Philip Alston, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, published a report June 1 after touring California, Alabama, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico in 2017.

In his report, Alston said the American dream was turning into "the American illusion" and that equality of opportunity in American life is "in practice a myth."

A group of 20 U.S. lawmakers sent the Trump administration a letter calling for a plan to reduce poverty to be presented to Congress. In Haley's response, the ambassador maintained that poverty was a serious concern of the administration, while lambasting the U.N. for what she called a "misleading and politically motivated" report.

Without being specific, Haley attacked Alston's credibility, saying he "categorically misstated the progress the United States has made in addressing poverty and purposely used misleading facts and figures in its biased reporting."

"In our country, the president, members of Congress, governors, mayors, and city council members actively engage on poverty issues every day," Haley wrote. "Compare that to many countries around the world, whose governments knowingly abuse human rights and cause pain and suffering."

What did Alston say in defending the report?

Alston, scheduled to present the report Friday to the Human Rights Council (which the U.S. just left), said he anticipated the U.S.'s response.

"The United States is a proud nation," Alston said earlier this month. "I don't think that it will particularly appreciate being given such a poor report card before the international community."

Alston lamented that the U.S. would not be at the presentation to defend its policies, which he said "would be a very helpful step in getting serious debate going."

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