The State Department reportedly rescinded a journalist's courage award because of her criticism of President Donald Trump.
Jessikka Aro, a Finnish investigative reporter, was told in January she would be honored with the prestigious International Women of Courage Award in Washington by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Foreign Policy reported.
Weeks later, the State Department rescinded the offer.
A State Department spokesperson told FP Aro was "incorrectly notified" because of "a lack of coordination in communications with candidates and our embassies."
"We regret this error," the spokesperson told FP. "We admire Ms. Aro's achievements as a journalist, which were the basis of U.S. Embassy Helsinki's nomination."
Aro and other U.S. officials have a different theory, claiming the State Department backed out after combing through Aro's social media posts and discovering she frequently criticized Trump.
"It created a s–tstorm of getting her unceremoniously kicked off the list," one unnamed source told FP. "I think it was absolutely the wrong decision on so many levels."
The decision "had nothing to do with her work," the source told FP.
According to FP, the decision was made by lower-level State Department officials worried about how bad it would look if Pompeo granted an award to an outspoken Trump critic.
"[When] I was informed about the withdrawal out of the blue, I felt appalled and shocked," Aro told FP.
"The reality in which political decisions or presidential pettiness directs top U.S. diplomats' choices over whose human rights work is mentioned in the public sphere and whose is not is a really scary reality."
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