Trump pick for top UN migration post apologizes for anti-Muslim tweets

Trump pick for top UN migration post apologizes for anti-Muslim tweets
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE's pick to lead the United Nations's (U.N.) migration agency apologized on Friday for his past social media postings criticizing Islam as a violent religion. 

Ken Isaacs, the U.S. nominee to lead the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said at a press conference at the U.N. that he did not intend to "hurt anyone's feelings" with his tweets, and that many of the posts were taken out of context.

"I will have to say that Twitter, 140 characters, is not a very good way to make comments, but it's also not a good way to capture the context of what was said," Isaacs told reporters, according to CNN.

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"Would I tweet again? No, I wouldn't. But if I'm elected the director general or if I'm not, I believe in the human rights of the individuals. I believe every individual is unique, has a valuable life, and they all deserve equal and fair treatment."

Isaacs first came under scrutiny earlier this year, when CNN highlighted a series of tweets and retweets from his account expressing anti-Muslim views.

One of those tweets, for example, argued that "Islam is not peaceful." Another encouraged Austria and Switzerland to build walls to stem the flow of refugees into their countries.

Isaacs previously apologized for those tweets — a point he reiterated on Friday.

"There's nothing that I can say to change what I said," he said, according to CNN. "I've apologized for the hurt that I've caused. I have hundreds of Muslim friends around the world, and I've had them for years. So I do not believe that Islam is a violent religion, and I have no distinction, no discrimination against anybody of any religion or no religion."

Isaacs currently serves as the vice president of programs and government relations at Samaritan’s Purse, the evangelical humanitarian group headed by Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham.

He is running against two other candidates — IOM's current Deputy Secretary-General Laura Thompson and Antonio Vitorino, a former Portuguese deputy prime minister — for the top U.N. migration job.

Since its establishment in 1951, the IOM has been helmed mostly by Americans. But Isaacs's past comments have threatened to break that precedent.