The State Department rescinded a prestigious award to a Finnish investigative journalist after U.S. officials combed through her social media posts and found she frequently criticized President Donald Trump.
Journalist Jessikka Aro has faced death threats and harassment after exposing Russia’s propaganda machine well before the 2016 presidential election, and the U.S. State Department decided to present her with the International Women of Courage Award, reported Foreign Policy.
Aro was told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would present her with the award in Washington, D.C., but weeks later the offer was rescinded due to what a department spokesman called a "regrettable error."
However, Aro and U.S. officials familiar with the deliberations say the offer was over the reporter's social media criticism of the president.
“It created a shitstorm of getting her unceremoniously kicked off the list,” said one U.S. diplomatic source. “I think it was absolutely the wrong decision on so many levels (and) had nothing to do with her work.”
It's not clear whether the decision to revoke the award came from Pompeo or the White House.
Sources told the magazine the decision came from lower-level State Department officials who were concerned about granting an award to a Trump critic.