There is literally no place for Trump to hide. At home, talk about impeachment is gaining impetus as a consequence of the Comey memo, Trump’s admissions that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation and his admission that he gave the Russians intelligence to name just a few of the events of the past week.
Even before Trump leaves on his first trip abroad as President, that trip is tainted because Trump will attend a Summit with an indicted war criminal.
According to the ICC’s case information sheet, al-Bashir has been charged with:
Five counts of crimes against humanity: murder; extermination; forcible transfer; torture and rape (article 7(1)(g));
Two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities and pillaging
Three counts of genocide: genocide by killing genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction.
Granted, Saudi Arabia is organizing the summit of 50 dignitaries from predominantly Muslim countries across Africa, the middle East and Asia. The Saudis invited al-Bashir. But, here’s the rub. A U.S. official told NBC
While the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute, which is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, we nevertheless strongly support efforts to hold accountable those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, including such acts in Darfur,
This is against the backdrop of Trump’s tendency to praise “strong leaders” like Vladimir Putin. This is after Trump and shared intelligence with Russia. This is after Trump welcomed dictators like Turkey’s President Erdogan and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the White House.
This is after Trump endorsed Holocaust denier and nationalist Marine LePen in France’s presidential election. It’s after Trump’s inauguration committee invited the leader of Austria’s “Freedom” Party (which was founded by Nazis) to the Inauguration. And this is the same Donald Trump who dismissed respect for people he considers “the other” as “political correctness.”
With this background and Trump’s inclusion of the alt right in his Administration, it seems more plausible for Trump to rub shoulders with someone like al-Bashir than to “strongly support” efforts to hold the President of Sudan accountable for the most horrific crimes imaginable against the people of Dafur.
To be fair, the White House has not commented on whether Mr. Trump knew al-Bashir was invited to the Summit or if the two might meet – not that the White House has much credibility these days.