- Former President Donald Trump is hosting the LIV Golf Tournament this week.
- Trump justified hosting the Saudi-backed circuit, pointing to the US human rights record.
- Rights groups have previously accused Trump of exacerbating human rights abuses during his presidency.
In an interview with The New York Times, former President Donald Trump said he did not regret hosting the 2022 LIV Golf Invitational at a Miami golf club, asking questions about the Saudi-backed tour. distracted.
“We have human rights issues in this country, too,” Trump said on October 30 after being asked by reporters if he was concerned about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.
Trump did not disclose how much the LIV Series paid to host the tournament, but said golf was “extremely important” to the Saudi government, adding, “They put a lot of effort into it. “I’m paying.” Put money in it. ”
“These people have great minds, they are phenomenal people, they have infinite money,” Trump told The Times.
LIV has been criticized for its ties to Saudi Arabia, where the government has invested $2 billion in tours.
The oil-rich country has come under fire for its human rights abuses, particularly the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, whom the CIA believes is responsible for the Saudi government. The country has also been criticized for its treatment of women and political dissidents.
“We have a lot of killers”
Sarah B. Snyder, a historian of US foreign relations at American University, told Insider that Trump’s comments denying human rights abuses in Riyadh are consistent with his previous stance on human rights. “We have a lot of killers,” Snyder said, pointing to an earlier interview in which Trump dismissed criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“What do you think? Is our country so innocent?” Trump said at the time.
“On the U.S. record, whether it be human rights violations, military intervention abroad, strong and aggressive defense of U.S. interests, or the foreign policy interests of any country, he argues that the U.S. does not necessarily I didn’t see the need to uphold different standards. ‘” Snyder told his Insider.
Snyder continued, “I’m not surprised by his willingness to support and admire authoritarian governments, whether it’s Vladimir Putin of Russia or the royal family of Saudi Arabia.
Human rights groups acknowledge that, like many countries, the United States has some human rights problems and violations.
However, several groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Center for American Progress, believe that Trump-era policies and rhetoric about borders, Muslims, and LGBTQ rights have exacerbated current problems. It claims that there are
Alison Leal-Parker, managing director of the U.S. program at Human Rights Watch, told an insider that the “massive assault” on basic human rights under Trump was “unprecedented.” Told.
“All previous administrations, including the current one, including the Biden administration, have been held accountable for human rights abuses,” Parker said. “But the Donald Trump administration is just rock bottom in the history of human rights violations in the United States.”
As President, Trump took steps to deport individuals at the southern border by barring asylum seekers from entering the United States, a zero-tolerance policy that resulted in children being separated from their families at the border. was carried out.
A December 2020 report found that 1,300 asylum seekers had been beaten in Mexico since 2019 following President Trump’s order to leave asylum seekers at the border.
Kenji Kizuka, a researcher at Human Rights First, told Insider at the time, “It is a humanitarian disgrace to expel and continue to deport people seeking US refugee protection at the southern border. is a legal farce,” he said.
In 2019, Human Rights Watch published reports of journalists being harassed by U.S. officials at the U.S.-Mexico border.
While in office, Trump issued the controversial “Muslim Travel Ban,” barring citizens of a minority of Muslim-majority countries from entering the country without a green card or citizenship. As president, Trump claimed it was for national security, but critics also said he bolstered anti-Muslim sentiment.
Trump has also criticized his administration’s role in advocating for the legalization of job discrimination against LGBTQ people, his response to the 2020 protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, his rhetoric on coronavirus, and more. He has also been criticized for his policies on LGBTQ rights. He has repeated connections with the Chinese.
Snyder said the presidency has historically been more purposeful about considering human rights when making foreign policy decisions.The Trump administration has deviated from that approach, she said.
“Given his performance during the election campaign and in the White House,” Snyder said, “he does not believe that one of the U.S. government’s top priorities should be the protection of human rights.” I think he’s even less concerned with the rights of people living outside the United States.”
In response, Snyder said President Joe Biden had sent a “strong signal about human rights,” but that “a meaningful exception is his approach to Saudi Arabia.”
Parker shared similar sentiments, saying it was partly “ridiculous” to get involved in Trump’s statements on foreign policy now that Biden is leading the country.
Potential future Trump president could herald ‘potentially harmful’ human rights developments
Trump has not officially announced his candidacy for 2024, but he could run for president and win again.
Snyder said anyone with a strong passion for protecting human rights should be concerned about the potential for the next Trump presidency.
“I think elections rarely raise foreign policy issues and rarely raise human rights issues,” Snyder said. “Even if Trump’s return to presidency heralds many developments that may harm human rights, we don’t know if it will particularly affect people’s decision-making.”
A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to an insider’s request for comment.