Trump Administration Delinquent on Payments to U.N., Owes Over $1 Billion

Published on October 9, 2019 by Athena Pallas

The Trump administration now owes the United Nations over $1 billion, with $381 million of that coming from back payments which are now delinquent. This comes as the U.N. faces what U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling, according to The Hill, the “worst cash crisis facing the United Nations in nearly a decade.” Of the $1.3 billion currently owed to the U.N. by its member states, over $1 billion is owed by the U.S., including that $381 million in back payments as well as $674 million in payments for 2019.

President Trump has repeatedly spoken out against globalism and multinational agreements in favor of nationalism, unilateral decision making, and the abandonment of longstanding agreements with allies. As part of that rhetoric, Trump has spoken out against the amount the U.S. pays to the U.N., complaining that other countries should be paying more of a share. That complaint, however, does not relieve the U.S. of its current obligations to abide agreements it has with the U.N. The administration has now indicated that it will pay “the vast majority of what we owe“; that seems to imply that they do not, however, plan to pay everything they owe. According to The Hill:

The Trump administration owes the United Nations about $1 billion in payments at a time when the multilateral organization said it is facing its “worst cash crisis” in a decade, USA Today reports. The U.S. owes $381 million in back payments and $674 million for 2019. Of the $1.3 billion owed to the U.N. by member states, the U.S. is responsible for more than $1 billion. …”The Secretariat could face a default on salaries and payments for goods and services by the end of November unless more member states pay their budget dues in full,” (Stéphane) Dujarric (a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres) said in a statement. A U.S. mission official told USA Today that the administration will pay “the vast majority of what we owe to the regular budget this fall, as we have in past years.” President Trump, who has been an open critic of the U.N., weighed in Tuesday by tweeting: “So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States!”

70% of U.N. member nations have reportedly paid their dues, but the U.S. holdout accounts for over $1 billion of the $1.3 billion in total payments still outstanding to the U.N. Donald Trump sees fit to find billions of dollars for his border wall, billions of dollars not appropriated for that purpose by Congress, billions of dollars allocated by Congress to other purposes. Trump appears to pick and choose when and if the U.S. meets its financial obligations, as well its diplomatic obligations for that matter, with this delinquency to the U.N. representing both.

Featured image of President Trump addressing the U.N. General Assembly on September 24, 2019, via Wikimedia Commons.