TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said derogatory remarks by Trump about journalists could lead to “dangerous consequences.”
At a speech in Arizona last week, Trump defended his response to a white supremacist-organized rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and criticized US news outlets for what he considered a biased coverage of the violence.
Trump described the journalists who had covered the story as being "truly dishonest people".
"It's really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the US Constitution but very much something that the United States defended over the years is now itself under attack from the President,” Zeid said.
"It's sort of a stunning turnaround. And ultimately the sequence is a dangerous one," he added.
"To call these news organizations [such as the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN] ‘fake’ does tremendous damage and to refer to individual journalists in this way, I have to ask the question is this not an incitement for others to attack journalists?" he added.
Zeid said journalists working for The Guardian had been "assaulted in the United States most recently" but gave no details of the incident(s).
Trump has also made worrying remarks regarding Muslims, women and Mexicans, he said, adding, he "mocked a person with disabilities publicly".
Zeid censured Trump for pardoning former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio who has been convicted of criminal contempt in a racial profiling case of Latinos.
The top UN authority on human rights described Trump’s words and deeds as “grossly irresponsible, because it has consequences, it emboldens those who may think similarly to sharpen their assaults on these communities".
"Does the President support racial profiling, of Latinos in particular, does he support abuse of prisoners? Arpaio referred at one stage to the open-air prison that he set up as a concentration camp, he later recanted said it was a joke," Zeid said. "Does the president support this? These actions have consequences."
Zeid criticized Trump’s “reckless” leadership style, comparing him to a thoughtless driver of a bus with no control down a hill, risking the destruction of the human race, Presstv reported.
"I almost feel that the President is driving the bus of humanity and we're careening down a mountain path … from a human rights perspective, it seems to be reckless driving," he said.