NEW YORK As President Donald Trump kicks off his third United Nations General Assembly on Monday, escalating tension between the U.S. and Iran will be only the beginning of his trouble.
From navigating a growing controversy over his interactions with Ukraine to avoiding a repeat of the embarrassing moment when world leaders erupted into laughter during his 2018 U.N. remarks, the meeting will be full of potential pitfalls for an "America first" president who rubs many allies the wrong way.
Trump arrives in New York as questions continue to mount over whether he pressured Ukrainian leaders to investigate the family of Joe Biden, his top Democratic opponent a scandal that only increases the likelihood of the president stepping into an international kerfuffle. Trump acknowledged Sunday that he spoke with the president of Ukraine about an investigation into Biden, but called the conversation appropriate.
Adding to the danger for Trump: A meeting with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is scheduled for Wednesday.
This is, I think, going to be the most watched bilateral meeting at the General Assembly and this will have the intensity of international focus on a very new Ukrainian president, said Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
In an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday and in meetings with a dozen presidents and prime ministers, Trump will stress the importance of U.S. sovereignty. It's a message that plays well with his supporters in Pennsylvania and Florida, but could complicate his ability to build coalitions on global hot spots such as Iran and Venezuela.