The Trump administration is done pretending it cares about stopping racism at home or abroad.
The Trump administration cares so little about fighting racism that it refused to nominate anyone to serve on a United Nations anti-racism committee.
A human rights lawyer chosen by President Obama, Gay McDougall, currently serves on the 18-member U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). But Politico reported Friday that the White House actively intervened to prevent McDougall from being renominated — and didn't bother to find a replacement nominee before a deadline.
CERD meets three times a year to evaluate the progress of nations that participated in a 1960s-era international convention on "the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination."
That idea runs counter to the ethos of the Trump administration, which prefers to fan the flames of racism rather than eliminate it. And this latest snub "cements the narrative that the Americans just don't care about these kinds of things anymore," a State Department official told Politico.
A different senior official pushed back with the dubious claim that it "in no way diminishes our global leadership on efforts to eliminate racial discrimination" for the U.S. to blow off a global committee on eliminating racial discrimination.
In fact, Trump and his administration have been so racist that the U.N. has called them out on it multiple times.
After the deadly white supremacist riots in Charlottesville, Trump coddled neo-Nazis by complimenting them as "very fine people." The racism and violence in Charlottesville, combined with Trump's supportive words for the perpetrators, brought condemnation from CERD.
"We are alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred," Anastasia Crickley, CERD chairwoman, said in a statement at the time. The group called on "the government of the United States of America, as well as high-level politicians and public officials, to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country."
The United Nations has also condemned Trump's policy of ripping young children away from their parents and putting them in cages. "The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles," Ravina Shamdasani, a U.N. spokesperson, said in June 2018. Other U.N. personnel called the family separation policy "unconscionable" and accurately described it as "abuse."
But instead of listening to these critiques, Trump has just ramped up his racism.
Trump started intensely demonizing immigrants before the 2018 midterms, as the Republican economic plan was failing and the party faced massive losses, to try to rile up his base. Trump even encouraged his top officials to break the law to be more cruel to asylum-seeking immigrants.
For an administration that so readily embraces racism, ignoring the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is sadly par for the course.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.