Donald Trump invaded Monday unseen at the UN climate summit, an event that he expected before the next year's election to skip a religious forum that is important for conservative voters.
The president sat down at the table when his friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, addressed the group, which is a priority for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
& # 39; The world must act now, & # 39; Modi said as Trump applauded.
President Donald Trump dropped by the UN climate summit unplanned
Trump listened while his friend spoke to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The president sat in the American seat for about 15 minutes before the event and made no comments.
He and Modi have become close friends with the president who joins the prime minister on Sunday for a meeting in Houston, where Modi is their & # 39; chemistry & # 39; praising.
The two men held each other's hands as they entered the arena to address the 50,000 attendees.
Meanwhile, Trump came under fire for democrats and climate activists because they did not have the United Nations climate action on his agenda.
The president has in the past expressed skepticism about climate change and at one point called a hoax created by the Chinese to hurt American manufacturers.
Trump has scheduled a counter-program on Monday – for which an event for religious freedom is being organized at the same time the delegates met to talk about the environment.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres listens while President Donald Trump speaks at a religious freedom event
Vice-president Mike Pence (center) introduced President Trump to the religious forum while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) watches
The president, along with vice president Mike Pence, attended an event on religious freedom at the UN headquarters, an issue that is important for evangelical voters when the president is on his way to the 2020 elections.
& # 39; It is a real honor to be the first president of the United States to organize a meeting at the United Nations on religious freedom, & # 39; Trump told the meeting.
He praised the long history of religious freedom in the United States.
& # 39; The United States is based on the principle that our rights do not come from the government, but from God, & # 39; the president remarked.
& # 39; As a president, protecting religious freedom is one of my top priorities, and it has always been & # 39 ;, he said.
He added: & We must all work together to protect communities of every faith. We also urge every nation to increase the prosecution and punishment of crimes against religious communities. & # 39;
His daughter, White House adviser Ivanka Trump, was present to hear his comments, as well as Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo and new ambassador to the Kelly Craft of the UN.
A senior government official during a call on Friday to view the UN's agenda, refused to discuss why Trump did not appear at the climate summit.
& # 39; As for the problem of climate change, today we want to focus solely on the actual event that the president is going to do. The Secretary-General will participate in the event of religious freedom, & said the person.
& # 39; This event aims to draw attention to and broaden international support for the protection of religious freedom following increasing persecution of people based on their own beliefs and beliefs, and a growing number of attacks and destruction of worship, religious places and remains of state and non-state actors, & the person added.
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg opened the climate session
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the climate summit
Trump also missed a climate meeting last month at the G7 summit in France. One of his first actions as president was the removal of the US from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg opened the climate session on Monday with an angry condemnation of world leaders for failing to take strong measures to combat climate change – & # 39; how dare you & # 39 ;, she said.
Trump was not in the room for her comments.
& # 39; This is completely wrong. I shouldn't be here. I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean, but you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you, & she said.
& # 39; You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, & # 39; she added.
Guterres also addressed the opening session of the climate group.
& # 39; Nature is angry and we are fooling ourselves when we think we can fool nature because nature is always beating back and nature is beating all over the world with anger, & # 39; he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron were also scheduled to attend the climate session.
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