The Guardian has an article about Trump not wanting to criticize North Korea's human rights record before their summit, which is perhaps undestandable from a realpolitk perspective. I want to know if Trump himself ever criticized the human rights record of any country. Let's just stick to the period since he took office, as the most relevant. Perhaps the State department, even under Trump, still has some of its usual talk against the usual suspects when it comes to human rights, but I want to know about Trump's own statements on the matter, if any.

N.B.: I know Trump reacted militarily to the chemical attacks in Syria, so he draws the line somewhere; the words he used on one of those occasions were "heinous attack", "we're talking about humanity", "barbaric act", and "atrocities". Has he criticized any other human rights violations besides the Syrian chemical attacks?

3 Answers 3


Ok, Trump apparently did criticize North Korea's human rights record, last November, in front of South Korea’s National Assembly. I couldn't find his speech right away, but I found a summary:

When President Trump spoke to South Korea’s National Assembly last week, his emphasis on the systematic abuses and absence of basic freedoms in the authoritarian state to the north made him sound like a fervent champion of universal human rights.

So his criticism is contextual, at least with regard to North Korea. There's some further commentary in that article that other Presidents have done the same with respect to other countries, particularly with respect to those with which the US tried to gain or maintain close[r] relations.

The article also reproduces some criticism that Trump may be more driven (than past Presidents) by his personal like or dislike of the leader of the country in question. Honestly, I didn't find that too convincing. While Trump's lack of criticism of Duarte came with some praise (for Duarte's tough anti-drug enforcement), it's not clear what Trump liked about Vietnam's leadership, even though he avoided criticizing the human rights record of the latter as well (on his visit there).

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    He just did so for Turkey too
    – user9790
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 2:26

Yes, he criticised Venezuela, even considering military action (source Time.com). He publicly voiced his criticsm as reported by CNN:

President Donald Trump would not rule out the possibility of a military intervention in Venezuela on Friday, stepping up rhetoric directed at a regime the President has already accused of being led by a "dictator."


He added: "This is our neighbor. You know, we are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering, and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary."

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/11/politics/trump-xi-north-korea/index.html

The part in bold (emphasis is mine) is criticism of another country's human-rights.


President Donald Trump has criticized human rights violations in Turkey, cited even by a newspaper hostile to him, New York Times:

During Wednesday’s phone call, the White House said, Mr. Trump also voiced concern about “destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey.” Additionally, he noted prolonged detentions of American citizens and local employees in Turkey, a rare reference by the White House to human rights concerns.


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