“You had the Nobel Prize?” Donald Trump learns of Yazidi activist Nadia Murad. Here’s how the interaction unfolded pic.twitter.com/DE3exTAm7N
— The National (@TheNationalUAE) July 18, 2019
If you wrote this scene for the cartoon villain in a genre movie, it’d be rejected as ‘too broad’. If your grandfather reacted this way during a serious event, you’d be looking at assisted living facilities with memory-care components. I don’t know if this event was scheduled well in advance, or if the Oval Office Occupation slapped it together to reassure the Talibangelicals that Jeffrey Epstein’s friend Trump still had their backs. But as an American, I’m genuinely ashamed that this is the face we’re showing the world.
When President Trump this week met human rights activist Nadia Murad, an Iraqi who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for speaking out about her agonizing torture and rape while in Islamic State captivity, he seemed unaware of her story and the plight ofher Yazidi ethnic minority.
For several minutes in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Murad stood beside a seated Trump, who mostly avoided eye contact with Murad, and implored the president to help her community return to Iraq. She explained that the Islamic State, or ISIS, may be gone but that Iraqis and Kurds are fighting for control over Yazidi lands…
Murad, who lives in Germany, told Trump that she never wanted to be a refugee but that ISIS murdered her mother and six brothers.
“Where are they now?” Trump asked.
“They killed them,” she repeated. “They are in the mass grave in Sinjar, and I’m still fighting just to live in safety.”
“I know the area very well that you’re talking about,” Trump responded.
Trump’s meeting — which drew widespread criticism because of its awkward moments — included nearly two dozen foreigners who, like Murad, had suffered religious persecution in their home countries. They included a Jewish Holocaust survivor, a Tibetan from China and a Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar.
Trump told Murad he would look into it “very strongly.” As she started to back away, Trump said: “And you had the Nobel Prize. That’s incredible. They gave it to you for what reason?”
“For what reason?” Murad replied. “For, after all this happened to me, I didn’t give up. I made it clear to everyone that ISIS raped thousands of Yazidi women.” She told him she was the first woman to get out and speak publicly about what was happening.
“Oh, really, is that right?” Trump said, his voice notably more upbeat. “So you escaped.”
“I escaped, but I don’t have my freedom yet,” she said…
You can practically see the word balloon over his addled head: Yeah, but they gave you what should’ve been *MY* Nobel Prize!
Trump officials pressing to slash refugee admissions to zero next year – POLITICO https://t.co/c6t0dEP5bZ
— Jacob Heilbrunn (@JacobHeilbrunn) July 19, 2019
In 2016, the U.S. resettled 10,786 Somalis. In 2018, it resettled 139. The politics of "go back to your country" and the historic collapse of US refugee resettlement are obviously different, but let's not pretend they aren't linked to the same vision of America.
— Kevin Sieff (@ksieff) July 18, 2019