The United States is a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. We present an example that encourages other nations to follow. Past presidents have been champions and ambassadors of American freedom. It’s what the world expects from us. Citizens in oppressed nations need to hear it from our leaders.
Our most important freedom is freedom of the press. That’s why it’s in the First Amendment, and not the Second. Journalism is the only profession explicitly protected by the United States Constitution. While supporters of Donald Trump rejoice in having a president who is a “Constitutionalist,” he says, “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it.”
Trump calls the press “fake news” and the “enemy of the American people.” He’s targeted specific journalists from Katy Tur to Jim Acosta for bullying and harassment. Journalists have received death threats mimicking Trump’s language and even adding “MAGA” to their promises of violence. A major news network recently received a threat stating, “I swear allegiance to my leader, and he says you’re fake news, you’re the enemy. I must rid the country of you because you’re the enemy of the people.” One Trump supporter threatened to travel to the offices of The Boston Globe and commit a mass shooting. Apparently, Trump sycophants aren’t the only ones inspired by his free press hating rhetoric.
The government of Saudi Arabia is accused of killing a Saudi citizen, journalist for The Washington Post and resident of Virginia, Jamal Khashoggi. The Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is suspected of ordering the murder of Khashoggi. Mohammed and the Saudi government were not discouraged by the United States from murdering a journalist, even after U.S. intelligence intercepted the prince’s plans to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.
Last week, Khashoggi was lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey and he never left, at least not alive. The Turkish government has accused Saudi Arabia of murdering the journalist, flying his body out of the country, and that they even hacked him into several pieces.
Khashoggi was a prominent critic of the Saudi government, and many within it would probably describe him as an “enemy of the Saudi people” who wrote “fake news.” Why would the Crown Prince be discouraged by America from murdering a journalist when the president of the United States calls the press the enemy?
The Saudi’s may also believe there would be no repercussions from the Trump administration. Saudi Arabia was the first nation to receive a visit from a President Trump. They lavished praise on him, blasted his image on jumbotrons across Riyadh, and even treated him to a sword dance. Mohammed has become a close friend to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, often engaging in private phone conversations that are not on any public record, and striking concern within the U.S. intelligence community. Mohammed has been quoted as saying Jared is “in his pocket.”
Mohammed initiated a crackdown against many in his nation perceived to be a threat to his power, which included arresting a Trump critic. Donald Trump praised the move.
If Saudi Arabia is responsible for the death of Khashoggi then the United States must implement sanctions against them, which would include individuals. How will Donald and Jared handle leveling punishment to their good buddy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?
There are a lot of things Trump doesn’t understand. The Nuclear Triad, why we have troops in South Korea, words on paper, etc. I don’t expect him to understand why press freedom is important or that he bears responsibility when people threaten and attack journalists while screaming his catchphrases. Trump will never understand what it means to be presidential as he’s still operating as a con man.
The United States needs a leader who will stand up to those who threaten freedom, from Saudi Arabia to Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump needs to demand Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. We need a leader who will put the nation and our values before himself.
We also need a leader who isn’t a coward.
Watch me draw.