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Trump State Department Takes Back Award, Reportedly Over Journalist’s Criticism of Trump

Finnish investigative journalist Jessikka Aro was invited by Trump’s State Department to accept a prestigious journalism prize, the International Women of Courage Award, but the award was rescinded after officials discovered Aro’s criticism of Donald Trump on social media, according to Foreign Policy magazine.

A State Department told the magazine that the invitation was an “error” that was the result of “a lack of coordination in communications with candidates and our embassies.”

But sources, including Aro and several U.S. officials, told FP that the award was canceled because State Department officials discovered criticism of Trump on Aro’s social media feeds and wanted to avoid the awkwardness of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo personally presenting an award to a Trump critic:

“It created a shitstorm of getting her unceremoniously kicked off the list,” said one U.S. diplomatic source familiar with the internal deliberations. “I think it was absolutely the wrong decision on so many levels,” the source said. The decision “had nothing to do with her work.”

The magazine also noted that the formal invitation to accept the award came from the State Department, and not from the embassy.

Aro spoke out about the cancellation Tuesday, which is when the awards ceremony was held, calling it a “disgrace” that “violates freedom of speech”:


She also urged her followers not to blame the embassy:


Aro was to be honored for her work exposing pro-Russia trolls.

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