Close Close Comment Creative Commons Donate Email Add Email Facebook Instagram Facebook Messenger Mobile Nav Menu Podcast Print RSS Search Secure Twitter WhatsApp YouTube
Stand up for journalism that holds the powerful to account.
Donate

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

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

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.

Do you have access to information about USAID that should be public? Email [email protected]. Here’s how to send tips and documents to ProPublica securely.

Filed under:

Protect Independent Journalism

This story you’ve just finished was funded by our readers. We hope it inspires you to make a gift to ProPublica so that we can publish more investigations like this one that hold people in power to account and produce real change.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that produces nonpartisan, evidence-based journalism to expose injustice, corruption and wrongdoing. We were founded over 10 years ago to fill a growing hole in journalism: Newsrooms were (and still are) shrinking, and legacy funding models are failing. Deep-dive reporting like ours is slow and expensive, and investigative journalism is a luxury in many newsrooms today — but it remains as critical as ever to democracy and our civic life. More than a decade (and six Pulitzer Prizes) later, ProPublica has built one of the largest investigative newsrooms in the country. Our work has spurred reform through legislation, at the voting booth and inside our nation’s most important institutions.

Your donation today will help us ensure that we can continue this critical work. From the climate crisis, to racial justice, to wealth inequality and much more, we are busier than ever covering stories you won’t see anywhere else. Make your gift of any amount today and join the tens of thousands of ProPublicans across the country, standing up for the power of independent journalism to produce real, lasting change. Thank you.

Donate Now

Portrait of Yeganeh Torbati

Yeganeh Torbati

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

Latest Stories from ProPublica

Current site Current page