Saturday, July 20, 2019

Good Strides

One of the most interesting things about this ghastly fiasco in which Trump demonstrates, as Gaiman suggests, that he would have a hard time convincing an impartial jury that he's a human, is that it wasn't supposed to happen—the president wasn't scheduled to play any role in the events as announced by the State Department:

On July 16 at 9:00 AM EDT, Secretary Pompeo will kick-off the first day of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom with brief remarks. Following the Secretary’s opening address, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback will deliver remarks on the need for increased partnerships in the fight to advance religious freedom. At 3:25 PM EDT, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and retired U.S. Representative Frank Wolf will participate in a discussion moderated by Ambassador Brownback on religious freedom challenges in China and the importance of bipartisan, whole-of-government approaches to defending religious freedom.
On July 17, Secretary Pompeo will present the Department of State’s first-ever International Religious Freedom Awards to individuals who have demonstrated an ongoing and relentless commitment to promoting religious freedom.
On July 18 at 8:55 AM EDT, Secretary Pompeo will deliver keynote remarks on the state of religious freedom around the world, advancements over the last year, and remaining work to be done. Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at 11:00 AM EDT, underscoring international religious freedom as a key U.S. foreign policy priority. At 1:00 PM EDT, White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will deliver opening remarks at the Luncheon for the Heads of Foreign Delegation.
So Trump or Mulvaney or Miller decided at the last minute to invite the award winners over to the Oval Office, presumably in the wake of his quarrel with the women of the congressional Squad and condemnation on Tuesday by the House of Representatives for the racism he showed, so he could display himself being compassionate with women of color, as long as they're the right sort, thus proving that he wasn't a racist at all, before flying off to Greenville to address the Send Her Back rally.

Which backfired, as you'd expect, because he wasn't willing to do any sort of homework for it, and couldn't help revealing throughout that he had no idea what these people were about except that the things they had been though were "tough"—the transcript shows him using the word seven times, lastly by way of congratulating himself
So, you see, the world is a tough place.  And we’re making strides.  We’ve made some very good strides. 
—and wasn't able to show any interest, let alone compassion, except in the fact that the Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad had won the Nobel Peace Prize he'd been sort of hoping for himself:
MS. MURAD:  Thank you so much.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  And you had the Nobel Prize?
MS. MURAD:  Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s incredible.  They gave it to you for what reason?  They can explain.
MS. MURAD:  For what reason?  For that — after all this happen to me, I can — I make it clear to everyone that ISIS raped thousands of Yazidi women.  This one was first time the woman from Iraq, she gave out and spoke about it happen.
THE PRESIDENT:  Oh really?  Is that right?
MS. MURAD:  And it’s —
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s the first time?
And the novel method in which another victim was imprisoned:
MS. BERHANE:  My name is Helen.  I’m from Eritrea.  I’m a gospel singer.  So I have been, for 32 months, in a metal shipping container because of my faith.  But the reason I am here — all our pastors, they are still in prison in Eritrea, including the patron (inaudible).  So that is my message.  I am a voice for those voiceless.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Appreciate it.
MS. BERHANE:  Thank you.  We pray for you.
THE PRESIDENT:  In a shipping container.
MS. BERHANE:  Metal shipping container for 32 months.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thirty-two.  Thirty-two months. Please.
He's somewhat up to date on current events in Cuba
THE PRESIDENT:  How has it been in Cuba without Castro?  There’s still a Castro there, but you have a new leader.  How has that been?  Any different?
but not so much on China
MS. ILHAM:  Mr. President, one to three million Uyghur population are locked up in concentration camps in China, including my father, who is now serving a life sentence.  I haven’t seen him since 2013.
THE PRESIDENT:  Where is that?  Where is that in China?
or Nigeria
MS. BITRUS:  — for the opportunity to see you. I am Esther, from Nigeria.  I do three years in (inaudible).  I escaped from Boko Haram.  So thank you for (inaudible).
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s tough stuff, right?
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a tough one.  Thank you.
But he does seem to promise to intercede with Kim Jong-un on behalf of North Korea's Christians
MR. JU: ...But even though the persecution of Kim (inaudible), the North Korean citizens, they are trying to — they are — they want (inaudible) and they want to worshipping now.  And they are worshipping in underground churches right now.  And even though a few weeks ago we had a message from North Korean underground churches and they sent a photo of the wood and they are three of them gathered there and they were praying for South Korea.  So those kind of things are happening in North Korea.
THE PRESIDENT:  I’ll bring them up.
MR. JU:  So, yeah.
THE PRESIDENT:  I’m understanding exactly what you’re saying.  I’ll bring it up.
Sure you will.

Shorter version at No More Mister Nice Blog.

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