Trump’s pick to lead the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ken Isaacs, was rejected in a vote by member nations. The position had been known as an “American seat.”
The vote is “another sign that US power, authority and prestige has been so dramatically diminished,” said Keith Harper, former ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council, under President Obama.
Isaacs was nominated to lead the IOM despite (or perhaps because of) a string of bigoted and anti-Muslim social media posts.
According to the Washington Post, Issacs “suggested in social-media posts that Islam is an inherently violent religion and has said Christians in some cases should receive preferential treatment when resettling from hostile areas.”
CNN also reported Issacs “shared a post that called climate change a ‘hoax,’ shared a story from the conspiracy-peddling website InfoWars about the ‘Clinton body count,’ and wrote ‘#Islam is not peaceful.’”
The world took notice of Issacs’ bigoted sentiment and voted to make Antonio Vitorino, a Portuguese socialist and former European Union commissioner, the next director-general of the IOM, an agency which provides humanitarian aid to migrants and helps resettle migrants accepted to resettle in other countries.
“The U.N.’s migration agency snubbed the Trump administration’s candidate to lead it on Friday, a major blow to U.S. leadership of a body addressing one of the world’s most pressing issues — and only the second time that it won’t be run by an American since 1951,” wrote the Washington Post.
It is no surprise that Trump would seek to appoint someone so hostile to Muslims to a high-ranking position. Trump regularly touted a Muslim ban during his 2016 campaign, a policy Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted is rooted in Trump’s “hostility toward the Islamic faith.”
Trump is quick to condemn acts of violence when committed by a Muslim, but refered to Nazis marching in Charlottesville as “very fine people,” even after one of those marchers murdered Heather Heyer, an innocent young woman.
The embarrassing result of the vote “marks a searing rejection of the U.S. candidate,” according to CBS News. International news outlets point to Trump’s policies as playing a key role in this decision.
“Trump’s hardline stance on migration — from the so-called Muslim ban to his ‘zero tolerance’ policy on the southern US border that led to separating parents and children — undermined Washington’s traditional right to choose the world’s top migration official,” writesAgence France-Presse (AFP). “Trump’s ‘America First’ administration has also leveled ferocious attacks against multilateral bodies and undermined IOM’s core global function — refugee resettlement.”
Harper commented that this move by the U.N. had a broader message about America’s role on the global stage.
“More than anything I see this as a reaction to diminishment of US prestige,” he writes. “We are no longer seen as leaders. Or looked to as an example. Trump’s inhumane treatment of migrants, antagonism of our allies, coddling of dictators, abandonment of rule of law, others noticed.”
Trump’s omnipresent racism toward brown immigrants continues to have a disastrous impact on America’s global image. The rejection of Trump’s handpicked bigot at the United Nations is not the first international embarrassment, and likely won’t be the last, so long as Trump is calling the shots.