The human rights commissioner for the United Nations condemned Trump for his assaults on freedom of the press.
Donald Trump’s outrageous behavior has raised eyebrows abroad as well as at home. Trump has already made a mockery of diplomacy by pulling out of the Paris agreement and falsely telling NATO leaders that they owe him money.
Now, he is drawing fire from the United Nations for jeopardizing American freedom at home, as well.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, denounced Trump’s continued referral to mainstream reporters as “fake news,” accusing him of undermining freedom of the press.
“It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution but very much something that the United States defended over the years, is now itself under attack from the President,” he said.
Trump has taken an unprecedented line of aggression against the Fourth Estate, calling the press the “enemy of the people,” shutting reporters out of his meetings, and sending his surrogates to openly condemn press freedom in live TV interviews.
Hussein went even further, saying that Trump’s rhetoric has actually put journalists’ lives in danger. “To call these news organizations “fake” does tremendous damage and to refer to individual journalists in this way,” he said, “I have to ask the question is this not an incitement for others to attack journalists?”
As an example, Hussein cited Ben Jacobs, the Guardian reporter who was body-slammed by Montana Republican Greg Gianforte the night before he was elected to Congress. Trump has been joking about violence against the media for months, and polls show 2 in 5 of his supporters think beating up journalists is acceptable.
Hussein’s criticism comes only one week after the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued an “early warning” to the U.S. amid Trump’s tacit acceptance of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, a formal action usually reserved for impoverished nations at risk of sectarian civil war.
The instability of U.S. leadership, and the erosion of our basic rights, is no longer only our problem. It is the entire world’s problem.