The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is warning President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE that it will "see him in court," threatening to use its “full firepower” if he tries to follow through on controversial campaign promises on immigration, torture and other issues.
“These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said in a statement Wednesday. “They violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eight and Fourteenth Amendments. If you do not reverse course and instead endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at every step.”
The group's homepage solicited donations with a large image of Trump's face, telling visitors, "We need you to stand with us now."
Should President-elect Donald Trump attempt to implement his unconstitutional campaign promises, we'll see him in court.— ACLU National (@ACLU) November 9, 2016
The ACLU specifically called out Trump’s promises to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, ban Muslims from entering the country, surveil Muslim communities, punish women for getting abortions, reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture and change the country’s libel laws.
If Trump pursues any of those policies, Romero said, the ACLU’s lawyers, activists, volunteers and supporters “are ready to fight.”
“One thing is certain: we will be eternally vigilant every single day of your presidency and when you leave the Oval Office, we will do the same with your successor,” Romero said.
Human rights groups were also urging Trump to change his tone and policies now that he has won.
Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said Trump’s “poisonous,” “xenophobic” and “sexist” rhetoric during the campaign has no place in government.
“This rhetoric cannot and must not become government policy,” Huang said in a statement. “President-elect Trump must publicly commit to upholding the human rights of all without discrimination. From concentration camps to the use of torture, we have seen disastrous results when those we elect to represent us flout the United States’ obligations to uphold human rights.”
Amnesty’s secretary-general, Salil Shetty, said Trump has to put the campaign behind him and reaffirm the United States’s commitment to human rights.
“President-elect Trump has provoked grave consternation at many points throughout his election campaign, and raised serious concerns about the strength of commitment we can expect to see from the United States towards human rights in the future,” Shetty said in a statement. “He must now put this behind him and both reaffirm and abide by the United States’ obligations on human rights, at home and abroad.”
Human Rights Watch warned that Trump is inheriting a number of human rights challenges across the world, including conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. The United States will be unable to press human rights issues abroad, the group added, if it does not uphold those rights stateside.
“Now that he has secured victory, President-elect Trump should move from the headline-grabbing rhetoric of hatred and govern with respect for all who live in the United States,” Kenneth Roth, executive director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “He found a path to the White House through a campaign marked by misogyny, racism and xenophobia, but that’s not a route to successful governance. President-elect Trump should commit to leading the U.S. in a manner that fully respects and promotes human rights for everyone.”