Trump plans to make foreign aid hinge on religious freedom

Religious leaders pray with President Trump in September 2017. The aid effort is seen as a sop to Christian evangelicals in his base. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

The White House is reportedly planning to make U.S. foreign aid dependent on how recipient countries treat religious minorities, in an effort sure to enrage leftists triggered by any U.S. government assistance to Christians.

The move is already being described by U.S. media as further constraining a U.S. foreign aid policy already heavily restricted under the Trump administration. It was first reported by Politico after briefings from White House aides.

The aides said the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom listings might be used to identify which countries should stop receiving aid.

According to the report, the proposal could be extended to include U.S. military assistance. The commission’s most serious offenders include U.S. partners such as Saudi Arabia and adversaries like Iran.

White House officials told Politico that the idea is in the early stages while an executive order is drafted, adding that placing sanctions was another possible method of reaching the same goals.

During his U.N. general assembly speech in September, the president said his administration would continue to push the issue.

“Hard to believe, but 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where religious liberty is in significant danger or even completely outlawed,” Trump said. “Americans will never tire in our effort to defend and promote freedom of worship and religion.”

Trump has also suggested at times that foreign aid should be contingent on countries backing U.S. interests, another concept that has enraged his political opponents.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here