Donald Trump is on a tour of Asia, and he’s busy doing everything he can to undermine the standing of the United States in the world, buddy up to Putin, and embarrass our country.
His latest misstep came in Vietnam, where, despite a bipartisan letter from Congress highlighting the problem, he refused to discuss ongoing human rights abuses. In fact, he actually said things like, “Vietnam has truly become one of the great miracles of the world, and it’s very impressive, no matter where you come from, no matter who you are. If you look at what’s happened in Vietnam, there is nothing more impressive,” instead.
Republican Senator John McCain didn’t let that slide. On twitter, he took shots at Trump, saying, “@POTUS in #Danang & no mention of human rights – Sad”.
McCain, who was previously nominated for president by the Republican Party, has caused much ire on the right with his staunch opposition to many (but not all) things Trump. So, somewhat predictably, his replies blew up:
According to Human Rights Watch,
‘Vietnam’s human rights record remains dire in all areas. The Communist Party maintains a monopoly on political power and allows no challenge to its leadership. Basic rights, including freedom of speech, opinion, press, association, and religion, are restricted. Rights activists and bloggers face harassment, intimidation, physical assault, and imprisonment.
‘Farmers continue to lose land to development projects without adequate compensation, and workers are not allowed to form independent unions. The police use torture and beatings to extract confessions. The criminal justice system lacks independence. State-run drug rehabilitation centers exploit detainees as laborers making goods for local markets and export. Nevertheless, increasing numbers of bloggers and activists have called publicly for democracy and greater freedoms.’
That’s why a bipartisan group of legislators asked Donald Trump – not for the first time, either – to speak out on his trip. Trump, of course, neglected to do so. After all, he’s a big fan of dictators and oppressive regimes. From the New York Times:
‘During his May meeting with Mr. Phuc, Mr. Trump refrained from censuring Vietnam for its mounting crackdown on dissent, which has resulted in the arrests of dozens of bloggers, religious leaders and activists.
‘In a Nov. 7 letter, 20 members of the House of Representatives, from both parties, called for Mr. Trump to raise “Vietnam’s dismal human rights record” when he sees Mr. Quang on Saturday.’
Trump’s refusal to speak out on issues like this comes from a simple place: he doesn’t care. He just truly does not care about things like human rights, and probably doesn’t understand or have the patience for people asking him to. Something like that requires empathy, which is not a thing Donald Trump possesses. If he weren’t the occupant of the White House, it wouldn’t matter so much. Unfortunately, around the world, strongmen who call themselves “leaders” will see his silence as endorsement.
Unless he can score political points by attacking you on Twitter, he doesn’t care what you do. That’s what he’s telling dictators around the world.
Featured image via Zach Gibson/Getty Images