Trump's Response To Nobel Prize Winner Who Escaped ISIS Completely Lacks Empathy

by Cassandra Stone
Originally Published: 
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

He asks where her family members are immediately after she tells them they were murdered

Yesterday, Donald Trump had a meeting with a group of Yazidi refugees from Iraq. The group met with him in the Oval Office, where human rights activist and refugee Nadia Murad described in harrowing detail how ISIS attacked her village and killed her family. Trump’s reaction to her story and the following exchange are, at best, breathtakingly awkward and at worst, horrifying if not surprising.

Murad, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, tells Trump that ISIS killed her mother and brothers, then took her and other women in her family to hold as prisoners. Murad was among 27 other refugees and survivors of religious persecution in her home country.

“Now there’s no ISIS, but we cannot go back [home] because the Kurdish government and the Iraqi government, they are fighting each other [over] who will control my area,” Murad told the president. “They killed my mom, my six brothers.”

Just before Trump posed the question, the woman, Nadia Murad, a human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, told the president how ISIS attacked her village, killed her mother and brothers, then took her and other women in her family as prisoners.

Murad’s entire story is worth a listen (and Trump’s demeanor throughout the exchange is extremely cringe-worthy and infuriating), but here’s the part that will make you say, “WTF is happening?”

“They killed my mom, my six brothers,” Murad tells him, referring to ISIS.

“Where are they now,” Trump asks. [WHERE ARE THEY NOW. Oh my God. Because he is incapable of listening, empathy, or doing his job in any real way.]

“They killed them,” she repeats. “They are in the mass graves in Sinjar. And I’m still fighting just to live safe. Please do something.”

“I know the area very well you’re talking about,” Trump says. “We’re going to look into it very strongly.”

Murad was raped and beaten by members of ISIS and had to endure the horrific murders of her family members before escaping. She was the first woman from Iraq to win the Nobel Prize for her activism in fighting against sexual violence and abuse, which has helped raise global awareness about sex trafficking and how it’s used as a weapon of war.

And this is what she has to deal with? From the leader of the United States? It’s mortifying. His aloof, closed-off body language alone is maddening to watch. He makes no effort to show his disdain for powerful women, especially powerful women of color. But this is still awful to see.

The intention of the meeting was for Murad to ask Trump to put pressure on the Kurdish and Iraqi governments to protect the Yazidis as a religious minority. This portion of the meeting went completely over Trump’s head and instead, his brain seemed to suddenly remember she had won the Nobel Prize

“That’s incredible,” he told her. “They gave it to you for what reason?”

What…reason? Kudos to Murad for keeping her composure and not letting the throbbing veins inside her head explode right there in the Oval Office. She patiently reminded him that everything she endured at the hands of ISIS, including her own escape, is the reason. Not to mention all the human rights work she’s done since. And yet she’s still considered a refugee without her freedom.

Murad’s sister-in-law was kidnapped by ISIS, and she was unable to escape. As were her niece and nephew after being kidnapped as well. She hoped Trump could assist in the matter, as the three of them are now missing.

“Let me look. We’re going to look, okay?” Trump said. “Thank you very much.”

While he most certainly does have the power to do so, and should use that power for this humanitarian crisis in addition to the one he’s created at our borders, he won’t. But Nadia Murad proved who the true leader in the room was that day, that’s for sure.

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