President Donald Trump made a surprise stop at the United Nations’ (UN) climate action summit on Monday, shortly before becoming the first U.S. president to host a UN meeting on religious freedom.
Trump was not originally expected to attend the climate action summit, but he appeared in the General Assembly Chamber alongside Vice President Mike Pence and UN Ambassador Kelly Craft. The president listened to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for about ten minutes before heading to his own meeting on religious freedom.
The president previously skipped a climate change summit during August’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France.
The “Protect Religious Freedom” event was hosted opposite the climate summit.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 23, 2019
“Today, it is my true honor to be the first President of the United States to host a meeting at the United Nations on religious freedom,” the president said. “Our Founders understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 23, 2019
Trump noted that “approximately 80-percent of the world’s population” live in areas where they do not have full access to freedom of religion and that 11 Christians are killed each day for living out their faith.
The president cited his work in freeing Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was held for two years in a Turkish prison after being accused of aiding terrorists through his Christian church. (RELATED: Pastor Brunson Prays Over President Trump In The Oval Office)
During his speech, Trump also announced an additional $25 million in funding “to protect religious freedom, sites and relics”