Although, in many contexts, Donald Trump continues to seek to impose his twisted policy vision on the world, in at least one respect, that vision has now been thwarted. Ken Isaacs, his pick to lead the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration, was the first of three candidates to have their bid to be leader of the IOM cut short this week. Remaining in the race after him were IOM deputy director-general Laura Thompson of Costa Rica and Portuguese Socialist Antonio Vitorino; the latter has now been elected to be the IOM’s leader, marking only the second time in the organization’s history that a non-American has been elected to lead the global body.
The new IOM leader is, the Associated Press reports, “a former EU commissioner for Home and Justice Affairs who’s been President of the “Notre Europe” think tank for the last seven years.”
There is, of course, a good reason for Isaacs being denied the leadership of the IOM by the voting member states on Friday who had gathered in Switzerland. Any pick of Donald Trump to carry out anything migration related is going to attract a significant bit of scrutiny thanks to other facets to his and his associates’ approach to migration policy.
Among the more infamous examples of this is the fact that Trump has proposed putting up a wall in between the United States and Mexico and is committed enough to that idea to claim to be open to refusing to sign a necessary spending bill later this year if it doesn’t include provisions for it.
Isaacs himself has voiced support for that kind of policy, suggesting on social media at one point that the European nation of Austria should put up a wall to keep migrants out. In conjunction to that sentiment, he has also more specifically and directly targeted Muslims, claiming the religion adhered to by many of the migrants targeted by Isaacs and Trump to be “not peaceful” — despite the fact that it’s not as though the rash of U.S. mass shootings are being carried out by Muslims.
Other social media posts earned Isaacs scrutiny in the lead-up to Friday’s election of the next IOM head too, like one touting the so-called “Clinton body count,” which references the wild conspiracy theory that the Clintons turn hitmen on their political enemies. That conspiracy has been floated by individuals as high profile as Fox News’ Sean Hannity but it unsurprisingly remains just that — a conspiracy theory.
Isaacs’ failure in his bid to lead the UN’s migration organization comes on the heels of a long line of similar Trump administration associated individuals rising to positions of power with similar questionable associations, but here in the U.S., the checks on those rises are less pronounced than they are inside the U.N. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment defines the activities of the Trump administration at the highest level and is expressed through such means as the Muslim ban and the recent separations of families at the United States border with Mexico — for now, though, those sentiments have not found a home at the United Nations.
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