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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

New Trump Appointee Says US Is in the Grips of a ‘Homo-Empire’ Pushing a ‘Tyrannical LGBT Agenda’

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This story was originally published by ProPublica.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

A new Trump appointee to the United States’ foreign aid agency has a history of online posts denouncing liberal democracy and has said that the country is in the clutches of a “homo-empire” that pushes a “tyrannical LGBT agenda.”

In one post, Merritt Corrigan, who recently took up a position as deputy White House liaison at the U.S. Agency for International Development, wrote: “Liberal democracy is little more than a front for the war being waged against us by those who fundamentally despise not only our way of life, but life itself.”

Corrigan’s new position in the Trump administration, confirmed by two officials, has not been previously reported.

Corrigan previously worked for the Hungarian Embassy in the United States and tweeted that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is “the shining champion of Western civilization,” Politico reported last year. An embassy spokesman, Béla Gedeon, said Corrigan left her position there in mid-April.

Orban, a far-right politician, has cracked down on civil society, academic freedom and other liberties. USAID has recently partnered with Hungary to help Christians in Iraq, a pairing that some career USAID officials said they found unsettling.

Asked about Corrigan’s writing, acting USAID spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala said the agency has a “zero-tolerance policy of any form of discrimination or harassment based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or any other possible distinguishing characteristic that can define any of us.”

“All employees are held to the highest of standards and are expected to treat one another with dignity and respect. Period,” she said. “This includes political appointees, civil servants, foreign service officers and contractors.”

Corrigan did not respond to emails asking about her past comments.

Politico reported last year that Corrigan wrote on her Twitter account that “our homo-empire couldn’t tolerate even one commercial enterprise not in full submission to the tyrannical LGBT agenda.” Corrigan’s Twitter account is now private.

In October, Corrigan wrote an op-ed in The Conservative Woman, a London publication, decrying “the false song of feminism” and calling for women to take up traditional roles of mother, wife and homemaker.

“A woman today is expected by society to come to marriage and motherhood in physical and spiritual decline, if ever,” she wrote. “This is the life women have been offered by those who would rather us toil away as isolated economic units for faceless corporations, far from the natural pleasures of the domestic, far from the guardianship of a loving husband, and far from the life-giving experience of motherhood.”

Corrigan’s biography on the website described her as a “conservative political strategist.” She was on the payroll of the Republican National Committee between 2016 and 2018, according to campaign finance records.

Her stated positions put her directly at odds with the stated goals of her new employer. USAID uses a “liberal democracy index” as one of its metrics in deciding whether a country is self-reliant, and it has an entire office dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment. The agency’s website says it is working for a world in which LGBT people are “respected and able to live with dignity, free from discrimination, persecution, and violence.”

Beirne Roose-Snyder, director of public policy at the Center for Health and Gender Equity, said, “An appointee who eschews gender equality, meaningful democracy and LGBTI rights cannot possibly fulfill the mission of USAID.”

Corrigan’s appointment is the latest example of the Trump administration bringing in officials to USAID whose stated views put them at odds with the agenda the agency says it promotes.

USAID’s new deputy chief of staff, Bethany Kozma, was previously an anti-transgender activist who wrote in 2016 that transgender girls are boys “claiming gender confusion.” Kozma was formerly a senior adviser for women’s empowerment at the agency.

And last week, The Washington Post reported that a Tea Party activist with a history of making and sharing anti-Islamic comments on his personal social media profiles would be the agency’s new religious freedom adviser. News of the appointment sparked criticism from Muslim groups in the U.S. and the Anti-Defamation League.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

GOP Congressman: FBI ‘Participated’ in Insurrection to ‘Entrap’ Harmless Protestors and ‘Frame the MAGA Movement’

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U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is demanding the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dept. of Justice tell Congress what they know about their own alleged “participation” in Donald Trump’s January 6 insurrection, which led to at least seven deaths. Gohmert falsely claims the attack on the U.S. Capitol – which in reality was an attempted coup designed to overturn a free and fair election – was instead a “monumental entrapment scheme used as a pretext to imprison otherwise harmless protestors” and used to “frame the entire MAGA movement as potential domestic terrorists.”

News organization The Recount calls Gohmert’s assertions “a bullshit baseless conspiracy theory.”

The Texas Republican congressman, explained on Thursday on the floor of the House that his “friend,” Fox News white supremacist host Tucker Carlson “covered this last night,” called the conspiracy theory “really disturbing… because we don’t like to see government agents stirring up trouble or find that there are criminal acts that would not likely have occurred had not the federal government been participating.”

Having no evidence that January 6 was an “inside job,” which is what Gohmert is asserting, he goes on to make up possible scenarios, again, without any basis in fact.

“Whether they were actual agents, or an undercover agents, or informants that were working for the federal government. But this is scary stuff this is, This is kind of third world stuff, this is not only third world stuff but this is like Putin-like kind of activity. So, if there were federal agents that were involved on January 6, we really need to know what the FBI knew and when they knew it, and not only that, we need to know how much participation did any of our federal friends either at DOJ, FBI, or any of the Intel Community, what kind of role were they playing?”

It’s almost like he is demanding Speaker Pelosi form a Special Committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Jerry Falwell Jr.: I Had No Responsibility to Tell Liberty University About My Personal Life

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Jerry Falwell, Jr. is asking  a court to dismiss a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against him by his former employer, Liberty University, the Christian conservative evangelical college founded by his father.

The suit, worth more than $40 million, is merely a tool to embarrass and publicly shame him, Falwell says. He claims university officials are using it as a vehicle to keep his affairs in the public eye.

The lawsuit, Falwell claims, according to the Lynchburg News & Advance, focuses “in large part on an affair between Falwell’s wife, Becki, and a young man named Giancarlo Granda that Jerry Falwell Jr. has made public statements about.”

Granda has repeatedly claimed that not only did Falwell know about his wife’s affair with Granda, often described in the  media as their “pool boy,” Falwell Jr. participated in some of the liaisons, as a voyeur.

Falwell Jr. “has claimed Granda — once a pool boy, business partner and friend to the family — had extorted the couple, which Granda has denied.”

Related: ‘Pool Boy’ Breaks Down Jerry Falwell Jr’s ‘Predatory Behavior’ in CNN Interview

Liberty University “honed in on those claims in its lawsuit, stating Falwell breached his fiduciary duty to the school by not disclosing ‘Granda’s extortive threats’ while negotiating a 2019 employment agreement that included a $1.5 million raise and a $2.5 million severance package. Beyond that, it alleges Falwell damaged the school’s reputation and donor base through a series of ‘indiscretions’ in recent years, along with his ‘personal impairment by alcohol.'”

Falwell in his court filing says the “rehashing of these events and protected defamation of Falwell through litigation serves one mission — ruining Falwell’s reputation through mischaracterization of events and public shaming through out-of-context pictures filed in a public complaint.”

His “response to the lawsuit states he had no duty to tell the university about private matters and the university failed to prove legal elements of the business conspiracy it alleged against him.”

 

Image via Shutterstock

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Leaked Messages Implicate White Nationalist Rep. Paul Gosar in Plot to Disrupt Biden Arizona Win Using Proud Boys

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Messages leaked to the Washington Post implicate Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) in a plot to create a so-called “Brooks Brothers Riot” in his home state to block President Joe Biden’s victory.

Woodrow Johnston, the vice president of political consultancy McShane LLC, told an undercover liberal activist posing as a Trump supporter that Gosar wanted to use the far-right Proud Boys gang to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election in Arizona.

“We might need to do the same here in Nevada,” Johnston added in his message.

The protests that Johnston organized remained peaceful and did not actually disrupt vote counting.

Even so, Johnston’s boss, Rory McShane, distanced his consulting firm from efforts to organize protests against certifying the election.

“I was unaware of these texts, but I know Mr. Johnston was not working on behalf of any client or organization,” he said. “Our management team has met with Mr. Johnston. I’m confident he sees the error of what he did.”

Gosar’s office claimed that the Trump-loving Arizona congressman was not in contact with Johnston and denied coordinating any election-related protests.

The original “Brooks Brothers Riot,” which took place in Florida more than two decades ago, was organized by Republican campaign operatives who successfully disrupted the vote recount in the Miami-Dade County election office after the 2000 presidential election.

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