The White House will not send anyone to serve on a United Nations committee against racism, the most recent hint of the U.S.'s retreat from international politics and priorities related to human rights, Politico reports.
According to one State Department official, the Trump Administration intervened to block the expected renewal of a human rights lawyer, who was chosen by President Barack Obama, to serve on the 18-member U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The official said it might have been the case that the White House simply ran out of time to find a substitute prior to the deadline. Regardless, the official said, “it cements the narrative that the Americans just don’t care about these kinds of things anymore.”
A senior official in the Trump administration, however, argued differently.
“Although the United States did not nominate a candidate this year for election to the committee, that in no way diminishes our global leadership on efforts to eliminate racial discrimination,” the senior official said.
State Department staff originally expected the administration to renominate the current U.S. committee member, Gay McDougall, to serve on the "treaty body" that manages the implementation of an international convention from the 1960s on “the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.”
The committee gathers together three times each year to ensure that progress towards the goal is being made in the countries whose representatives are present.
Officials in the State Department told McDougall, who has criticized Trump in the past, that her renomination would be guaranteed, but the White House blocked the renomination just days later. There was no explanation provided by the Trump administration.