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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

‘Why Have the Laws Written Down at All?’: Conservative Republican Complains About SCOTUS LGBTQ Civil Rights Ruling

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Republican Sen. Josh Hawley​ of Missouri questioned the efficacy of the religious-right movement after the Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination—a ruling authored by President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Hawley was far from alone with his disdain for the ruling. Anti-LGBTQ groups and outlets expressed alarm​. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wrote in a blog post Wednesday​, “Suddenly, we fear for our kids’ classrooms, our sons and daughters in the military, the future of adoption and competition, and the vanishing hopes of any Christian to run a business or ministry without being sued.”

On Tuesday, Perkins hosted Hawley on his radio show “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” after Hawley gave a speech on the Senate floor calling the Supreme Court’s ruling a “piece of legislation” and “seismic.” Politico reported that Hawley declared that the ruling “represents the end of the conservative legal movement.” He echoed those sentiments during his interview with Perkins.

“For religious conservatives, people of faith, who have labored here in the vineyard so to speak, I think that this result—it really is going to cause people to question: What is it we have been doing? What is it that we have been working toward if this is always the result at the end of the day? We have got to do better than this,” Howley said.

Howley said that he was ultimately hopeful that religious conservatives “of all backgrounds” would be motivated to demonstrate leadership after the ruling.

“That would be a good thing for this movement, for the country,” Hawley said.

Perkins jumped in to insist that he and Hawley were not seeking Supreme Court justices who would “legislate from the bench” in a way that fulfilled their political desires, but rather ​they sought justices who would adhere to the U.S. Constitution and “the true meaning of words.”

“There’s almost no point in writing down the laws. We might as well just let the justices just tell us what they think should be the right policy in any given case,” Hawley said​ sarcastically. “Why have the laws written down at all if the words are not going to hold the meaning they had at the time?”

 

This article was first published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission. 

Image by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs via Flickr and a CC license
DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Christian Right Activist at Trump’s HHS Finalizes Move Rolling Back ‘Unnecessary’ Transgender Healthcare Protections

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The Trump administration just moved to roll back hard-fought Obama-era healthcare non-discrimination protections for transgender people, just as coronavirus cases are surging in at least 21 states. The timing, too, is notable. While the President does not recognize LGBTQ Pride the move comes in the middle of the month devoted to celebrating and honoring the community, and exactly on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre.

The Wall Street Journal reports the new rule will take effect in 60 days, ending “a policy that expanded an antidiscrimination provision in the ACA to cover bias against” transgender people.

The move comes from the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR), which is headed by far right wing religious extremist Roger Severino (photo).

OCR calls the protections for transgender people “overbroad” and “massive and unnecessary regulatory burdens that had been eventually passed on to patients and consumers,” while suggesting they are not “substantive.”

“This continues the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back protections in health care for LGBT people,” Bloomberg Law reports. “The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights sees preserving ‘religious freedom’ as essential to making sure health-care professionals don’t get penalized for the actions they do or don’t do in their jobs because of their moral beliefs.”

Severino is responsible for many of the administration’s most anti-LGBTQ polices.

Last year, in defending his new anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” regulation, Severino told reporters, “Patients want doctors who match their values.”

Developing…

Related:

Christian Right Activist Heading Civil Rights Office at HHS Moves Closer to Killing Protections for LGBTQ Patients

HHS Being Sued Over Policy Giving Special Religious Rights to Healthcare Professionals Over LGBT People and Women

Trump Creates New ‘Conscience and Religious Freedom Division’ at HHS to Support Discrimination by Health Care Professionals

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Hope Hicks Was Behind Trump Photo-Op Stunt That Led to Peaceful Protestors Being Tear-Gassed: Reports

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According to reports from both the New York Times and the Daily Mail, Hope Hicks, who now serves as counselor to the president, was the brains behind having Donald Trump leisurely stroll from the White House over to St. John’s church for a photo-op that has turned into a public relations disaster for the administration.

That photo-op, where the president held up a Bible in front of the fire-damaged church, has been roundly criticized after the cable networks ran split screens of peaceful protesters being chased off by law enforcement officials, who marched on them while blanketing the area with tear gas.

The reports state that Hicks, who once served as the White House Communications Director before leaving to work for the Fox Corporation before returning, came up with the publicity stunt that televised on national TV.

According to the Daily Mail, “Longtime Donald Trump aide Hope Hicks has been identified as having helped hatch the plan to have the president walk across the street from the White House to pose in front of St. John’s church – staged event that police and National Guard forces facilitated by using tear gas and rubber bullets to clear away peaceful protesters,” with the report adding, “As a PR move it may have backfired, after global and national media broadcast images of shield-bearing and mounted police using force to clear Lafayette Park, an area whose use as a forum for demonstrations and speech has long been protected.

The New York Times backed up the report with the Times’ Katie Roberts writing, “That church, St. John’s — the so-called Church of the Presidents because every one since James Madison has attended — had been briefly set ablaze as the protests devolved on Sunday evening. After Mr. Trump’s aides spent much of Monday expressing outrage over the burning of a place of worship, Hope Hicks, a presidential adviser, eventually hatched a plan with others at the White House to have the president walk over to the building, according to an official familiar with the events.”

As Roberts noted, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Mariann E. Budde, immediately went public with her displeasure with the publicity stunt, stating, “He [Trump] did not pray. He did not mention George Floyd, he did not mention the agony of people who have been subjected to this kind of horrific expression of racism and white supremacy for hundreds of years. We need a president who can unify and heal. He has done the opposite of that, and we are left to pick up the pieces.”

As part of their live coverage, CNN ran a chyron (which can be seen below) which read:” PEACEFUL PROTESTERS NEAR WHITE HOUSE TEAR-GASSED, SHOT WITH RUBBER BULLETS SO TRUMP CAN CAN HAVE PHOTO-OPS.”

 

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