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National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks to the Federalist Society in Washington, D.C., on September 10, 2018. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

In the lead-up to the UN General Assembly meetings, the Trump administration is taking the UN to task in both word and deed. In June, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley rebuked the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty for including the U.S. in a report about poverty in developed countries. Then, only days after the head of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) criticized the Trump administration’s child separation policy at the U.S.–Mexico border, the U.S. announced its withdrawal from that body.

The big picture: It's not clear how much further the Trump administration will take America's withdrawal from the international community. The U.S. helped launch the UN in 1945, but its role — and perhaps even its membership — in the organization has now been thrown into question.

In recent months, the Trump administration has taken several actions to isolate itself:

  • UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA): The UNRWA supports Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. The U.S. was its largest donor in 2017, at $350 million, but cut all funding last month. U.S. Arab allies' and even Israel’s security establishment are fearful of a collapse of this humanitarian agency, an outcome that would foment increased extremism among Palestinians.
  • Human Rights Council (HRC): The U.S. has had battles with the HRC since its creation, criticizing its priorities but always recognizing the importance of participating in its decisions. As of June, however, the U.S. has fully quit, and will have no influence over the agenda.
  • International Criminal Court (ICC): While not a U.N. agency, the ICC is a multilateral favorite. Yet National Security Advisor John Bolton recently described it as “already dead to us.” The ICC has opened investigations into war criminals like Joseph Kony and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir. They’ll be resting easier now.

What to watch: In his UNGA speech, Trump might use the language of Bolton, who famously said that "the (UN) Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories; if you lost 10 stories today, it wouldn't make a bit of difference." If he does, America’s future role at the UN will be anyone’s guess.

Joel Rubin is the president of the Washington Strategy Group and a former deputy assistant secretary of state.

Go deeper

Mike Pompeo shells out for media makeover

Via "Fox News Sunday"

Mike Pompeo's political action committee spent $30,000 on media training from last March to June — the most on any service beyond payroll during the first six months of 2021.

Why it matters: The former secretary of State hasn't just been losing weight but working to hone his media skills amid speculation about a possible presidential run, records show.

Bipartisan infrastructure group takes on election reform

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The bipartisan group focused on updating the Electoral Count Act of 1887 is seizing on this recess period to court senators more freely.

Why it matters: The group is led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and includes many members who helped reach the bipartisan infrastructure deal. They see themselves as the only hope of creating an election reform package able to muster 60 votes in the Senate.

Rep. Lamborn may have misused official resources, ethics panel alleges

Rep. Doug Lamborn departs from a news conference held by the House Republican Israel Caucus on May 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Congressional ethics investigators said Monday there is "substantial reason" to believe that Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) misused official resources and solicited or accepted improper gifts from subordinates.

Driving the news: Lamborn's aides told investigators they were often asked to run personal errands for his wife, Jeanie Lamborn, and were at one point tasked with helping his son apply for a federal position, according to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). Lamborn strongly denies the allegations.