President Trump's threat to cut off US funding to countries that oppose his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital has raised the stakes in Thursday's UN vote and sparked criticism of his tactics, which one Muslim group called bullying or blackmail. Trump went a step further than US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who hinted on Tuesday that the US would retaliate against countries that vote in favor of a General Assembly resolution calling on the president to rescind his decision. At the start of a Cabinet meeting in Washington on Wednesday, Trump told reporters that Americans are tired of being taken advantage of and praised Haley for sending the "right message" before the vote, the AP reports.
"For all these nations, they take our money and then vote against us. They take hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions of dollars and then they vote against us," Trump told reporters at the Cabinet meeting. "We're watching those votes. Let them vote against us." "We'll save a lot. We don't care," he added, alluding to US aid. Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, tweeted after Trump's comments: "Our government should not use its leadership at the UN to bully/blackmail other nations that stand for religious liberty and justice in Jerusalem." Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused the US of intimidation and said they believe UN members will ignore "pressure" from Haley.
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