UN human rights chief: Trump’s anti-press rhetoric is ‘very close to incitement to violence’

UN human rights chief: Trump’s anti-press rhetoric is ‘very close to incitement to violence’
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The United Nations high commissioner for human rights said President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE is “close” to inciting violence against journalists with his constant anti-press rhetoric.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a Jordanian prince and diplomat, told The Guardian on Monday that Trump's criticism could lead journalists to censor themselves, or to attacks on them.

“We began to see a campaign against the media … that could have potentially, and still can, set in motion a chain of events which could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work and potentially some self-censorship,” Zeid said. “And in that context, it’s getting very close to incitement to violence.”

Zeid went on to criticize the Trump administration's human rights record more broadly, arguing it has shown an unprecedented lack of concern about the issue.

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“The Trump administration seems to have separated itself from previous administrations in its upholding of human rights globally,” Zeid said.

He also slammed the administration’s failure to appoint an ambassador to the Human Rights Council before U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyPollster says Trump unlikely to face 'significant' primary challenge Trump blocked renomination of Obama-era UN racism official, won't pick a replacement: report Trump says he considered nominating Ivanka to lead World Bank MORE pulled out of the council in June.

Haley called the council a "protector of human rights abusers and cesspool of political bias" and accused the group of "politicizing and scapegoating countries with positive human rights records."

The U.S. has long argued that the U.N. council includes members that have poor human rights records themselves. 

The Trump administration's withdrawal also followed criticism about the council's perceived bias against Israel. 

Zeid told The Guardian that the administration's move was “illustrative of the lack of any deep commitment to the human rights.”

Zeid said Trump's rhetoric on the media is dangers because it can lead other countries to follow the president's lead.

The human rights chief pointed out that Cambodian leader Hun Sen used language similar to Trump’s when he closed independent news organizations.