Trump has faced heavy criticism at home and abroad after signing an executive order last week banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. and freezing current citizenship applications from the affected countries. Trump and his supporters argued the measures were necessary to enact stricter national security measures, while civil rights organizations and a wide spectrum of other opponents have accused his administration of discriminatory policies.
One of the travel's ban's most vocal critics, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), also reportedly appeared on the Nobel Peace Prize list. Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, said the civil rights group was the most likely candidate to win the international honor, highlighting widespread indignation provoked by Trump's executive order.
"A peace prize to the ACLU would certainly be understood as a criticism of President Trump," Harpviken wrote in a statement appearing on his website, adding that "it would more importantly be a celebration of long-standing, tenacious legal craftsmanship and the fight for civil rights, in the USA primarily, but also as part of a global struggle."
Trump was not entirely surrounded by enemies in this year's group. Russian President Vladimir Putin also joined the list compiled by thousands of qualified individuals, including government officials, university professors and members of international organizations. Trump has expressed support for Putin's policies and the two leaders have pledged to reverse the decline in bilateral nations that befell Washington and Moscow under President Barack Obama's administration.
Other disclosed nominees include former French President Jacque Chirac, imprisoned Saudi Arabian activist Raif Badawi and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of five prizes named after late Swedish physicist Alfred Nobel and awarded annually since 1901. Last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner was Colombian President Juan Manuel Santo, who received the honor for his efforts in brokering a historic peace deal between his government and the leftist FARC militant group. This year's winner is expected to be announced Oct. 6 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Stockholm, Sweden.