Aya Hijazi, an American-Egyptian charity worker and activist who was imprisoned in Egypt until President Donald Trump helped secure her freedom, urged her Twitter followers in a Monday post in support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The former political prisoner was incarcerated in a Cairo prison from May 2014 to April 2017. The government of former President Barack Obama had demanded her release in vain, but the Trump government succeeded in securing her freedom after several months of negotiations. Despite the president’s efforts on their behalf, Hijazi wants people to vote for Biden.
“Trump leaned over and said, ‘You know it’s me who released you, don’t you? I succeeded & Obama failed’ in the most vulnerable moment of my life, 48 hours after my release from prison [.] It was never about me, just as it was never about us. It was about his ego. We deserve better #VoteBiden,” the 33-year-old activist twittered, including a photo of herself with Trump at the White House during a meeting shortly after her release and return to the US.
I felt torn after the meeting because I was worried that I might not be a loyal person, as Trump demands loyalty as a means of maintaining control. But the government shouldn’t help citizens to be loyal; it should help b/c it to do the right thing #VoteBidenHarrisToSaveAmerica
– Aya Hijazi Ø¢ÙØ© ØØ¬Ø§Ø²Ù (@_AyaHijazi_) November 2, 2020
“I felt torn after the meeting because I was worried about being disloyal, as Trump demands loyalty as a means of maintaining control. But the government shouldn’t help citizens to be loyal; it should help b/c it do the right thing, #VoteBidenHarrisToSaveAmerica, #VoteBidenHarrisToSaveAmerica,” Hijazi wrote in a subsequent tweet.
Washington Newsday reached out to the Trump re-election campaign for comment, but did not react immediately.
During the 2017 White House meeting, Trump publicly welcomed Hijazi to the United States. She also met with the President’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who is also the President’s senior adviser.
“We are very happy to have Aya back home,” Trump said at the time. “It is a great honor to have her with her brother in the Oval Office.
In an interview with PBS News that aired in May 2017, Hijazi spoke positively about her meeting with the President.
“He was very hospitable. He made us feel very welcome and he admired our strength and our work for the children, so I was happy,” she said. Hijazi said, however, it seemed that Trump was confused about the facts of her case. He seemed to believe that she was imprisoned during the short period of time the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was in power from 2012 to 2013.
Hijazi was detained during a raid under the current president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – who was strongly condemned by activists for disregarding human rights and civil liberties in Egypt. Trump has spoken positively about el-Sisi and received him at the White House, which many activists and human rights experts have criticized.