“President Trump needs to go and see refugee children,” Yousafzai said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” scheduled to air Wednesday. “He needs to go and visit the refugee camps. He needs to know what the real life is like in a refugee camp.”
Yousafzai’s plea comes just days after Trump ordered a military strike against a Syrian airbase. He claimed his decision to launch the 59 Tomahawk missiles was in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s latest chemical attack that killed at least 100 civilians in the war-torn country.
“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered at this very barbaric attack,” Trump said after launching the strike Thursday night. “No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
Still, Trump’s newfound sympathy for the more than 5 million refugees fleeing Syria appears questionable at best. He’s attempted to block Syrian refugees from resettling in the U.S., issuing two executive orders, both of which have been shut down or temporarily halted by federal judges.
He’s also repeatedly spread lies about Syrian refugees, claiming their U.S. entry is “a matter of terrorism” and could pose a threat to Americans’ quality of life.
“It’s important that he understand that these people are in need,” Yousafzai told CBS. “I have seen them. I have went to refugee camp.”
On Tuesday, the 19-year-old activist became the youngest person named United Nations Messenger of Peace, the highest honor bestowed by the U.N. Secretary General.
She rose to international prominence as an activist for women’s rights and girls’ education after she was nearly killed in 2012 when the Taliban shot her in the head and neck on her way home from school in Pakistan. Her foundation, The Malala Fund, finances programs in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon.
“Once you educate girls, you change the whole community, you change the whole society,” Yousafzai said Tuesday during her acceptance speech. “If you do not stand up, change will not come ... It starts with us and it should start now.”