Imagine what it must have been like growing up in Donald Trump’s gold-encrusted house. For his entertainment, he would set Ivanka and Don Junior in a fight to the death. The first daughter-to-be pulls out her oh-so-deadly slender two-sided sword and stabs her brother in the back. Then, as junior lies there bleeding out, POTUS stands over him shouting “Loser” and takes away his Boy Scout awards.
Okay, that probably did not happen, at least in the literal sense, but some of this scenario might be true. Trump’s White House awarded a Finish journalist Jessikka Aro an International Women of Courage Award. to recognize her work. Then, the guy in his golfing whites found out that she had said unflattering things to say about him in social media posts.
In one of the president’s regular, petty, and chauvinistic piques, he rescinds her award. The Office of the Inspector General, State Department, is an internal watchdog, which investigated the issue.
When the journalist’s comments were found, senior US officials worried. They pulled her award to avoid a “public relations debacle,” according to The Washington Post. No such luck.
Trump had the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fire the Inspector General Steve Linick last spring. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is the top member of the minority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He and seven additional senators put in their request for this investigation:
‘The Inspector General’s report is another somber example of how fear and partisanship have permeated our nation’s foreign policy and diplomacy under the Trump administration.’
State Department interns found Aro reported that Trump’s “enemy” status included journalists and their “fake news.” In a separate tweet, she wrote about Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting in Helsinki.” She said:
‘Finnish people can protest them both. Sweet.’
Aro told The Post:
‘[In my heart] I feel like an international woman of courage. That, the Trump administration can’t take away from me.’
After the State Department withdrew her award, The Foreign Policy magazine reported on the story. The department’s press office responded:
‘[Aro was] incorrectly notified she’d been selected as a finalist. This was an error. This was a mistake.’
The department also told Congress that Aro “ultimately was not selected to receive the award, due to the highly competitive selection of candidates.” But the inspector general ultimately found that the decision to give her the award was not a mistake and was included in a memo approved by Pompeo.
The report also noted that the decision to withdraw the award originated with her discoveries on social media:
‘Every person OIG interviewed in connection with this matter acknowledged [that had her social media posts not been flagged] Ms. Aro would have received the IWOC Award.’
The State Department’s website writes about the award honoring women:
‘[Who] have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.’
‘Secretary Pompeo should have honored a courageous journalist willing to stand up to Kremlin propaganda. Instead, his department sought to stifle dissent to avoid upsetting a president who, day after day, tries to take pages out of Putin’s playbook. The State Department owes Ms. Aro an apology.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.