Trump Cabinet Choices Concern Rights Activists

As reported at The Guardian, president-elect Donald Trump‘s appointments of individuals with a history of inflammatory rhetoric in concerns with race relations, the use of torture, Islam and immigration has inspired fierce criticism from rights activists.

Yesterday Mr Trump appointed Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) as attorney general, former lieutenant-general Michael Flynn as national security adviser and Representative Mike Pompeo as the director of the CIA.

Mr Sessions failed to become a federal judge during President Ronald Reagan‘s administration in 1986 because former colleagues testified that they heard him use the n-word, that he had joked that the Klu Klux Klan were “ok until I found out they smoke pot”, called an assistant US attorney, “boy”, whom is a black man. He was alleged to have stated that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were “un-American, Communist-inspired organisations”. Senator Sessions will sit a confirmation hearing by the Senate judiciary committee. People For the American Way have implored for a demonstration at Capitol Hill against this appointment.

Mr Sessions is quoted to have said of the removal of the Confederate flag from public buildings was an attempt to “delegitimize the fabulous accomplishments of our country.” This statement was given in the aftermath of the massacre of 9 black worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina allegedly by young white supremacist Dylann Roof,  on June 17, 2015, who revered the Confederate flag as a symbol of white supremacy. Senator Clementa Pinckney (D- SC), 41; Cynthia Graham Hurd, 54; Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lee Lance, 70; Myra Thompson, 59; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; Daniel Simmons, 74 were the victims that lost their lives. After sitting with the group of parishioners during Bible study for roughly one hour (the group largely comprised of women) the alleged perpetrator Mr Roof was heard to state: “You rape our women and are taking over our country” before opening fire. Mr Roof was infamously given a bullet proof vest and taken to Burger King for a meal after his arrest.

NAACP president Cornell William Brooks stated:

“The nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, to serve as chief law enforcement officer of the United States, is deeply troubling. Senator Sessions’ record is one that suggests that he has stood in an old, ugly history in which civil rights were not regarded as core American values.”

Executive director of ACLU has stated:

“Senator Sessions has called the ACLU un-American and communist, assertions we flatly reject. His positions on LGBT rights, capital punishment, abortion rights and presidential authority in times of war have been contested by the ACLU and other civil rights organisations.”

Mr Pompeo has made provocative statements about the USA Muslim community in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, claiming that USA Muslim organisations and leaders had not condemned terrorism, having stated: “Silence has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts,”.

Both Mr Sessions and Mr Pompeo have been against the closure of the detention facility in Guantánnamo Bay, Cuba. In an opinion piece at the The Wall Street Journal, Mr Pompeo made false claims about the Patriot Act, the USA Freedom Act and the collection of USA phone metadata, financial data and surveillance.

The Guardian is quoted a statement from director of Human Rights Watch, Sarah Margon, in regards to Michael Flynn:

“Michael Flynn has shown a stunning contempt for the Geneva Conventions and other laws prohibiting torture. By offering this key post to Flynn, President-elect Trump is undermining US commitments to international laws that have been broken to America’s detriment.” – The Guardian

©Getty Images
©Getty Images

Michael Flynn was the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012-2014.

©Win McNamee/Getty
©Win McNamee/Getty

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala)

©USA Senate
©USA Senate

Representative Michael Pompeo (R-KS 4th District)

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