I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…
Amnesty International says the President of the United States has abandoned his country’s commitment to human rights.
“This is not hyperbole,” Margaret Huang, the organization’s U.S.A. executive director, says. “Trump embraces leaders whose policies and actions are antithetical to human rights.”
She makes a good case.
Trump’s bromance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, for example. Trump has said Putin has done “a really great job outsmarting our country;” praised Putin when he invaded Crimea; insists overall he’s “done an amazing job;” says “Putin is a nicer person than I am” (probably true); gives him an “A” for leadership; calls him his stablemate; doesn’t believe — “in all fairness to Putin” — that he’s killed anybody — and anyway, we kill people all the time; has “always had a good feeling about him;” calls him “a strong leader;” thanks Putin for expelling seven hundred fifty-five diplomatic workers from Moscow, “because now we have a smaller payroll;” often praises Putin while at the same time bashing allied leaders and former American presidents.
Trump often invites the worst despots in the world into the White House — more often, it seems, than democratic leaders. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who has locked up tens of thousands of his political opponents (arguably better treatment than the thousand or so he has murdered) and “decimated the human rights community” in his country, according to Huang, gets the full red carpet treatment. Maybe, because Sisi was the first foreign leader to call Trump with congratulations on his election — one despot to another.
But others get the royal treatment, too: Trump has reached out to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Rodrigo is Donald’s kind of guy: they’re the same age; both love locker room talk (Donald boasts of grabbing women by the pussy and Rodrigo asks reporters how their wives’ vaginas smell); each considers himself a radical populist; neither can, or wants, to control his mouth. Duterte has promised to kill tens of thousands of criminals, and claims actually to have already killed a few; Trump’s presidency is yet young.
Last May, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdoğan made his White House visit all the more memorable by gazing approvingly as his own security thugs beat peaceful D.C. demonstrators senseless, with nary a discouraging word from President Trump, who’s expressed similar gratification about the beating of demonstrators at his own campaign rallies. Maybe if someone told Trump about Erdoğan’s crackdown on Twitter in Turkey, he’d be less thrilled about his latest autocrat buddy. Maybe not, because Erdoğan is living the Trump dream by having jailed more journalists than any other country in the world.
Huang thinks “Trump’s warmth toward oppressive regimes will only embolden them.” She fears Trump’s view on human rights will become the new normal.
For President Trump, she’s already right: it’s just another day at the office.