Bolton on leaving Human Rights Council: US doesn’t need ‘higher judge’ of our performance

Bolton on leaving Human Rights Council: US doesn’t need ‘higher judge’ of our performance
© Greg Nash

National security adviser John Bolton on Wednesday defended the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying the U.S. doesn’t need a "higher authority" like the U.N. body to judge its actions.

“Getting off the U.N. Human Rights Council is an assertion of American determination to stick by its Constitution and not to recognize that there is some higher authority at the U.N., whether it is the Council or the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to judge our performance or to give us advice on how to implement the Constitution,” Bolton told "Fox and Friends."

“We’re perfectly capable of doing that ourselves. We make our share of mistakes and we correct our mistakes. That’s what this is about, self-governance,” Bolton added.


Bolton's comments came a day after President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE's Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyFour names emerge for UN position: report Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job United Methodist churches may cut ties with denomination over push to allow LGBT ministers MORE announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the council, saying the international body was "not worthy of its name."

Haley said the council acted as a "protector of human rights abusers and cesspool of political bias" and accused the body of "politicizing and scapegoating countries with positive human rights records."

Bolton said that the decision was a long time coming and backed Haley in arguing that the council did not live up to its name.

“This decision, in many respects, has been decades in the making. The Human Rights Council, its predecessor the Human Rights Commission, were really not places where human rights were a priority, strange as that may seem,” Bolton said.

Bolton has long opposed the council. In 2006, while serving as former President George W. Bush's ambassador to the U.N., Bolton voted against the resolution establishing the council, rejecting the simple-majority needed to elect members. The U.S. at the time also proposed "exclusionary criteria to keep gross abusers of human rights off the Council."

The Obama administration reversed that Bush administration's decision, and the U.S. was elected to the council in 2009.