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U.S. Foreign Aid Agency Defends Political Appointees Who Wrote Anti-LGBT, Anti-Islam Posts

The statement from acting administrator John Barsa comes after ProPublica reported that Merritt Corrigan, who has condemned the “tyrannical LGBT agenda,” was appointed as USAID’s new deputy White House liaison.

Graeme Sloan/Sipa via AP Images

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The top official at the U.S. foreign aid agency defended three political appointees whose past social media posts and writings include attacks on LGBT people and Muslims, saying they were “committed to enacting the policies of President Donald J. Trump.”

ProPublica reported on Friday that Merritt Corrigan had recently taken up a prominent position at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Corrigan has a history of online posts denouncing liberal democracy and feminism, and she has said the United States is in the clutches of a “homo-empire” pushing a “tyrannical LGBT agenda.”

News of Corrigan’s appointment as deputy White House liaison sparked outrage among current and former USAID officials, as well as congressional inquiries and an online petition calling for her firing.

In addition, ProPublica reported that Bethany Kozma, previously an anti-transgender activist who wrote in 2016 that transgender girls are boys “claiming gender confusion,” had taken a new position as USAID’s deputy chief of staff. And The Washington Post reported last month that Mark Kevin Lloyd, 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.

In a statement issued late on Monday, Barsa condemned what he called “unwarranted and malicious attacks” on the three officials, while also making clear they had been chosen by the White House.

“Political appointees are appointed at the discretion of the White House to carry out the President’s foreign policy agenda at USAID,” Barsa said. “USAID is honored to have Bethany Kozma, Merritt Corrigan, and Mark Lloyd serve at the agency. They are committed to enacting the policies of President Donald J. Trump.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Portrait of Yeganeh Torbati

Yeganeh Torbati

Yeganeh Torbati is a former ProPublica reporter. She covered the U.S. federal government.

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