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President-Elect Trump Still Hasn't Taken Office Yet. But Human Rights Watch Just Listed Him as a 'Threat'


GOP Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Campaigns In Battleground State Of Florida
Getty - Gerardo Mora
 The Wildfire is an opinion platform and any opinions or information put forth by contributors are exclusive to them and do not represent the views of IJR.

President-elect Trump won't be sworn into office until January 20th. But that isn't preventing Human Rights Watch — one of the largest human rights organizations in the world — from labeling him as a threat.

Its latest report was compiled by Human Rights Watch's Executive Director Kenneth Roth.

Roth wrote, in part:

"The election of Donald Trump as president in November 2016 capped a campaign marked by misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist rhetoric and Trump’s embrace of policies that would cause tremendous harm to vulnerable communities, contravene the United States’ core human rights obligations, or both.

Trump’s campaign proposals included deporting millions of unauthorized immigrants, changing US law to allow torture of terrorism suspects, and “load[ing] up” the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

President-elect Trump also pledged to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act, which has helped 20 million previously uninsured Americans access health insurance and to nominate “pro-life” Supreme Court justices who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade, which would allow individual states to criminalize abortion."

Roth then claimed that a Trump administration could lead to tyranny in America:

"The rise of populism poses a profound threat to human rights. Trump and various politicians in Europe seek power through appeals to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and nativism.

They all claim that the public accepts violations of human rights as supposedly necessary to secure jobs, avoid cultural change, or prevent terrorist attacks. In fact, disregard for human rights offers the likeliest route to tyranny."

While Human Rights Watch is sounding the alarm on the incoming Trump administration, it wasn't so disturbed by questionable Obama policies that it would seriously degrade the U.S.'s human rights position in the world.

The following are seven examples of Obama measures that would qualify as violating “human rights,” some of which HRW criticized itself:

  1. In 2008, Obama said of rural voters in the Midwest, “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
  2. When the IRS targeted conservative businesses for auditing and refused to approve non-profit status for many organizations, Obama called the scandal “phony.”
  3. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied about government programs that spy on Americans.
  4. Obama launched nearly ten times more drones strikes than Bush.
  5. Obama recognized same-sex marriage in Utah, even though the Supreme Court stayed the court order recognizing same-sex marriage in Utah and the state said it would not recognize same-sex marriages performed before the stay.
  6. The State Department offered to support ex-Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, with police and security. Morsi would end up being deposed and imprisoned for engaging in a list of brutal acts on the Egyptian people.
  7. Acquired phone records in secret from reporters at the Associated Press.

While Human Rights Watch continues to try and paint Trump as a possible tyrant, perhaps they're not considering that the president-elect's record in office may vary considerably from his campaign statements.

In addition, President Obama's abuse of executive powers increases the potential for any president—including Donald Trump— to become a “tyrant.” Perhaps the U.S. media should have taken those abuses more seriously before Donald Trump came into office.

The bottom line is that Trump is not even in office and organizations like Human Rights Watch are politicizing their purported standards in order to discredit a president, before he has even taken any actions.

Perhaps it would make more sense to compile some actual evidence before blasting a presidency and lowering the U.S.' standing in the world. Then again, that might be too much to ask of partisan left-wing organizations.