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NRATV, the National Rifle Association’s media outlet, announced on April 6 it would be hosting gun activist Mark Robinson during that evening’s broadcast of NRA national spokesperson Dana Loesch’s show Relentless. Robinson, who recently went viral after making pro-gun comments during a town hall in Greensboro, NC, has a lengthy history of bigoted statements.
Mark Robinson, the man who went viral for standing up for the #2A rights of the “majority” and law-abiding gun owners, joins @DLoesch tonight at 5:00 CT/ 6:00 ET on #Relentless. Watch it LIVE only on #NRATV. pic.twitter.com/odTeH4KfjB
— NRATV (@NRATV) April 6, 2018
Robinson previously appeared on Fox News’ Fox & Friends after his town hall comment demanding politicians “start standing up for” gun owners who have never shot anybody gained nationwide attention on social media.
As first reported by Shareblue’s Oliver Willis, who previously worked for Media Matters, Robinson has made a litany of bigoted and offensive comments on his Facebook account. The gun activist has called LGBTQ people “devil worshiping child molesters,” referred to some black Democrats as “slaves,” called the Parkland survivors “silly little immature ‘media prosti-tots’” and used a male pronoun to describe Michelle Obama.
Robinson also appeared on the April 6 broadcast of NRATV's talk radio program Cam & Company.
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After The Atlantic hired former National Review writer Kevin Williamson, Media Matters and a number of others called out Williamsons’ history of problematic commentary -- including his belief that “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide” and, as Rewire.News characterized it, that “women who have had abortions should face capital punishment, namely hanging.”
It turns out there are plenty of other reasons that The Atlantic should feel bad about the new hire and his self-proclaimed commitment to “raising a brand new kind of hell.”
After writing an article attacking transgender advocate and actress Laverne Cox, Williamson reiterated his anti-trans claims on his podcast, saying that she is “not a woman” and that his belief shouldn’t be “controversial” because she is “a man masquerading as a woman.”
During the same podcast, Williamson said that “sex reassignment surgery” is “brutal and lamentable” because it is “surgical mutilation basically for cosmetic purposes.”
Williamson also said that some transgender people do not give “the impression of being super emotionally stable” because they are “self-dramatizing” and “theatrical.” He claimed this characterization is “unfortunately stereotypical” but nevertheless called it “an accurate description.”
Williamson continued that transgender people are probably “living in adolescence” because “if you’re 40, and you’re still getting massive hormone treatments from a hormone that belongs to a sex that isn’t you, then, I guess, you should maybe be able to expect that this is going to be some sort of continued adolescence.”
During a 2011 appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight, Williamson not only called Mexican immigrants, “peasants” but also claimed that they “aren’t really contributing a great deal.” When pressed on this statement, Williamson said that the border between Texas and Mexico “looks like Afghanistan.”
In a 2011 appearance on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight, Williamson called for a continuation of waterboarding, saying: “We’re probably waterboarding people somewhere. I certainly hope so.”
In 2012, Williamson used another appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight to attack former first lady Michelle Obama, saying he was “offended” that Michelle Obama “gripes about having to pay back her student loans” because “when someone loans you money to do something that you want to do, that’s a favor.”
During a 2010 appearance on CNN, Williamson argued that hunting rifles are more dangerous than “so-called assault weapons,” which are “not actually very dangerous guns.” Williamson also said that it wasn’t “an entirely irrational or paranoid belief” to think that the government would someday seize people’s guns.
Then, last month on his own National Review podcast, “Mad Dogs & Englishmen,” Williamson attacked the high school students who survived a mass shooting at their Parkland, FL, school for advocating for stronger gun laws. Williamson compared the situation to asking people who had been in New York City during the 9/11 attacks for advice on the Middle East, saying, “We’re glad you made it through it OK. But you still don’t know anything.”
Shortly after poet Maya Angelou’s passing in 2014, Williamson discussed her legacy on his podcast -- arguing that she was merely “a kind of cultural mascot” or “literary character that we tend to attach to older, African-American women” whose purpose is to “teach white liberals the meaning of life.”
During a 2011 segment on NPR’s Tell Me More, Williamson attacked Malcolm X as “the sort of figure” who “is destructive in a lot of ways” because he engaged “in some of the most destructive and counterproductive politics the 20th century had to offer.” [NPR, Tell Me More, 4/8/11]
In 2012, on the same NPR program, Williamson said that the idea that “racial diversity is an inherent fundamental part of higher education’s mission” is “intellectually indefensible.”[NPR, Tell Me More, 2/24/12]
In 2018, on Fox News Radio’s The One w/ Greg Gutfeld, Williamson claimed that “if white supremacy” could be pointed to as an explanation for both chattel slavery as well as “the fact that there are nice restaurants in Brooklyn now in neighborhoods that didn’t have them,” then it “doesn’t explain anything.”
Williamson made a similar statement in 2014 on his podcast, describing white supremacy as “an imaginary substance” created out of “intellectual crudity.”
In a 2011 appearance on NPR’s Tell Me More, Williamson said that American students were the “most illiterate, bad reading level kids on the Earth.” [NPR, Tell Me More, 1/7/11]
In 2013, Williamson said on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight that the government shutdown “put a few thousand parasites out of work in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.” When pressed on his comment by a fellow panelist, Williamson responded: “Well if they’re not parasites let’s put their wages to a market test and see if they are actually worth what they’re paid. But they know they are not worth what they’re paid which is why they resist putting their wages to a market test.”
In 2012, Williamson appeared on Dobbs’ program and referred to union members as “grotesque parasitic union goons.”
After Planned Parenthood announced support for Barack Obama during the 2012 election, Williamson called the organization a “grisly, bloodthirsty enterprise.”
Hate group Alliance Defending Freedom has publicly spoken out against a California bill that would classify the dangerous and harmful practice of conversion therapy as fraud
Major anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom has joined an effort that includes several other major national hate groups to try to stop a bill in California that would classify conversion therapy as fraud. The term “conversion therapy” covers a range of discredited practices that attempt to change sexual orientation or gender identity and that have severe mental and medical health consequences. The organizations fighting the California bill -- which include hate groups the Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel, the American College of Pediatricians, and the Pacific Justice Institute, as well as two pro-conversion-therapy groups -- have a demonstrated history of supporting the dangerous practice.
There’s new reporting about anti-LGBTQ hate group leader Tony Perkins’ role in crafting the latest White House policy banning transgender troops from serving in the military -- and that’s only the most recent reminder that we should be very, very worried about the Trump administration’s coziness with anti-LGBTQ hate groups and extremists.
Hours after the White House released an updated policy banning transgender service members from serving in the military, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern reported that “behind the scenes, a ‘panel of experts’” crafted a report justifying the ban. The so-called experts included Perkins, president of anti-LGBTQ hate group the Family Research Council (FRC), and the virulently anti-trans Ryan Anderson from the Heritage Foundation, who wrote an entire book dedicated to discrediting the transgender experience. Stern also reported that Vice President Mike Pence, who has a long history of anti-LGBTQ animosity and is a longtime friend of Perkins’, “played a leading role in the creation of this report.” This is yet another disturbing example of anti-LGBTQ extremists’ influence on White House policy and close relationships with the administration.
Just one day before Trump announced the new policy, Tyson Langhofer, director of the Center for Academic Freedom at the anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), spoke at an official youth outreach event at the White House. During the event, Justice Department Office of Public Affairs Director Sarah Isgur Flores praised ADF as a “great organization” and thanked Langhofer for its work.
Here are just some of the ways ADF and other anti-LGBTQ hate groups and extremists are directly influencing White House policy beyond the newly released ban:
After consulting with ADF, Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions released religious exemptions guidance making it easier for individuals and businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
ADF is reportedly in “negotiations” with the Trump administration to undo protections for incarcerated transgender people.
Perkins has bragged about how many times he has visited the White House.
Trump is nominating attorneys with ties to ADF for federal judgeships.
Former ADF legal counsel Matt Bowman works in the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), which has been employing more right-wing religious activists and has started a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division that makes it easier for health care providers to deny services to LGBTQ people, among others.
Former Family Research Council Chief of Staff Shannon Royce has emerged “as a pivotal player” at HHS as director of its Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
ADF client Sara Hellwege spoke at the HHS announcement of its anti-LGBTQ rule granting religious exemptions for health care providers to deny services to LGBTQ people.
At least four people who have worked for the Family Research Council were on Trump’s transition team.
These groups spent years under the Obama administration pushing anti-LGBTQ policies through municipalities and states and fighting equality in court while also strategizing over how to undo the progress that has happened over the past decade at the national level. Now the current administration is welcoming them to the table and fulfilling their wish lists. Trump made a clear play for these groups and their supporters' votes when he chose Pence as his running mate, and so-called “values voters” like Perkins have repeatedly abandoned their morals to defend Trump -- and reaped the rewards in policy.
We are witnessing a massive effort to roll back LGBTQ equality at all levels of government and on nearly every issue affecting the lives and rights of community members, and these groups are at the forefront of it. And there are repercussions outside of the policy realm: Their attacks are creating a more hostile, anti-LGBTQ environment in society at large. For the first time in four years, acceptance of LGBTQ people has decreased, and violence against the community is surging without many Americans even being aware of it.
The trans military ban was just the latest win for anti-LGBTQ hate groups. There will certainly be more. If you haven’t been alarmed by this yet, it’s time to be now.
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An article published in Slate highlighted the influence of anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council (FRC) and anti-trans extremist Ryan T. Anderson in crafting the White House’s newly released policy banning transgender troops from serving in the military.
Family Research Council has a history of pushing anti-trans misinformation to justify harmful and discriminatory policies. When the transgender military ban was first announced in July 2017, FRC senior fellow Peter Sprigg published a report with the false claim that over the next ten years, allowing transgender people to serve in the military could cost “as much as $1.9 to $3.7 billion,” an estimate significantly higher than those from the Pentagon-commissioned Rand Corp study and research from the Palm Center. In the past, FRC and its representatives have also spread misinformation about transgender-inclusive restrooms, promoted conversion therapy, claimed that LGBTQ youth suicide rates would drop if the teenagers were “discourage[d] from self-identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual,” and suggested that being transgender is a “cultural phenomenon.”
In July, FRC president Tony Perkins admitted that FRC worked with the White House on the transgender military ban, and in August, Foreign Policy reported that FRC was lobbying Congress to keep the Pentagon from using government funds to “provide medical treatment related to gender transition.”
Another of Trump’s “experts,” anti-trans extremist Ryan T. Anderson, has repeatedly used biased and junk science to justify bigotry against the transgender community. In February, he published When Harry Became Sally, an entire book dedicated to discrediting the transgender experience. The book falsely argues that transgender people are mentally ill and would have better outcomes if they did not transition.
As Slate reported, “the policy issued by the White House on Friday combines anti-trans propaganda with baseless, discredited concerns about the alleged danger of open transgender service,” including false claims about military readiness, privacy, and cost. And as Slate pointed out, “given its authors, the Trump report’s conclusions are unsurprising.” From the March 24 article:
Yet behind the scenes, a ‘panel of experts’ has been crafting a report, also released on Friday, designed to provide pretextual justification for Trump’s ban. According to multiple sources, Vice President Mike Pence played a leading role in the creation of this report, along with Ryan Anderson, an anti-trans activist, and Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ lobbying group.
Given its authors, the Trump report’s conclusions are unsurprising.
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Williamson has a history of making misogynistic, extreme, and outrageous claims on a number of issues
On March 22, National Review writer Kevin Williamson announced he had been hired by The Atlantic. Williamson announced his departure in a post for National Review titled “On My Departure” in which he wrote:
As some of you have heard by now, I’ve accepted a position at The Atlantic, and my regular duties here at National Review and the National Review Institute will come to a close after ten very happy and fruitful years for which I am and always will be grateful.
When asked why he sometimes wrote for Playboy, Bill Buckley said that he wanted to be sure that at least some of his work was seen by his son. I can’t say I know Christopher Buckley very well, but he never has struck me as the kind of pervert who reads Playboy for the articles. Still, I get the sentiment. And even though The Atlantic was founded by a bunch of sometime Republicans (Ralph Waldo Emerson et al., from whom our modern Republicans could learn a thing or two of value) it isn’t exactly what you’d call conservative. So like St. Paul, who also benefited from the services of a good editor, I will be an apostle to the Gentiles. I am very much looking forward to raising a brand new kind of hell.
As Splinter noted, “The Atlantic’s former editor, James Bennet, has been busy in the past year turning the New York Times opinion page into an even bigger source of frustration for its newsroom. His old place of employment is apparently looking to top those efforts.” And indeed, Williamson has quite a history of making misogynistic points, pushing anti-abortion extremism, and offering outrageous views on a number of other issues.
In 2014, Williamson tweeted that “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide.” Although Williamson has since deleted his Twitter account, the exchange was immortalized by Rewire.News Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson, who explained that Williamson not only advocated for abortion to “be treated as premeditated homicide,” but also that “women who have had abortions should face capital punishment, namely hanging.”
The comments sparked enough outrage that Salon created a quiz for readers: “Can you tell the difference between National Review’s Kevin Williamson and a 4chan troll?”
Beyond this, Williamson has a history of making extreme, anti-abortion commentary.
In 2014, Williamson also wrote a piece claiming that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a “desire to see as many poor children killed” as possible through abortion.
In 2015, Williamson urged lawmakers to support a 20-week abortion ban (a medically unsound bill that anti-choice Republicans are still pushing in 2018). As justification, Williamson suggested that although he did “sympathize with women who feel that they are not ready for a child," he had also “had many developments in life for which I was not ready.”
In 2013, Williamson argued against “exceptions for rape and incest” in anti-abortion restrictions, saying that “invites the very critique that feminists would like to make” because “if we are going to protect unborn human lives, then we are going to protect them regardless of the circumstances of their conception.”
Most recently, Williamson wrote an article for National Review this year about the annual anti-abortion event March for Life. In the article, Williamson argued that he could tolerate many things other than abortion, writing: “Smoke weed, snort cocaine, watch porn, but don’t kill a living human organism, for any reason, ever.”
In an article titled “Like a Boss,” Williamson claimed that “from an evolutionary point of view, Mitt Romney should get 100 percent of the female vote,” including “Michelle Obama’s vote,” because “the ladies do tend to flock to successful executives and entrepreneurs.” Williamson concluded that although Americans “don’t do harems … Romney is exactly the kind of guy who in another time and place would have the option of maintaining one.”
Williamson also launched an ad hominem attack on actress Lena Dunham for writing a piece that encouraged people to vote. Williamson’s 2014 post, headlined “Five Reasons Why You’re Too Dumb to Vote,” attacked Dunham as “distinctly unappealing" while calling her piece “a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers" directed toward Dunham's "presumably illiterate following."
And this line of criticism was not limited to attacks on Dunham. That same year, Williamson also penned a criticism of feminism, including attacks on then-California state Senate candidate Sandra Fluke and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. As Media Matters noted, Williamson defined feminism in this piece as “the words ‘I Want!’ in the mouths of three or more women, provided they're the right kind of women."
Williamson also has a checkered history of offering problematic commentary on sexual assault and harassment. In 2015, Media Matters called out Williamson for declaring the epidemic of campus sexual assault “a fiction” and arguing that efforts to curb incidents were somewhat akin to the “mass hysteria” during the Salem witch trials.
This sentiment goes back even further. In 2008, Williamson wrote a tribute to newspaper advice columnist Miss Manners that included such gems as “As every female police officer knows, there is something maddeningly sexy about a woman enforcing rules, and something sexually repugnant about a woman without any rules at all” and “Miss Manners is sexy for the same reason that librarians and teachers and nurses can be sexy: she is an authority — it's fun to play with authority.”
Also in 2008, Williamson claimed that Hillary Clinton’s “true-believers understand that they and their grievances will never merit the free upgrade to first-class victimhood.” In the National Review article, Williamson also wrote that Clinton was “getting in touch with her inner dominatrix (which does not seem to have been much of a reach for her.)”
More recently, Williamson wrote an article for National Review headlined “The Treasury Secretary’s Wife” in which he attacked Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as a “D-minus-list never-was CSI-extra actress.”
In 2014, Williamson attacked transgender actress and advocate Laverne Cox, writing that she was “not a woman, but an effigy of a woman," because transgender identity is a "delusional tendency." This was not the first time Williamson expressed anti-trans sentiments. In 2013, he penned the article “Bradley Manning Is Not A Woman.”
Williamson also used his platform at National Review to praise and admit to a “sneaking admiration for Kim Davis” -- the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Although he did note that her position was “wrong, inarguably” and that her sentence was justified even “as much as one might admire Davis’s conviction,” Williamson still compared her “principled noncompliance” to that of Martin Luther King Jr.
Following the Paris terror attacks in 2015, Williamson argued that the Paris attackers should spur "more scrutiny and surveillance of Muslim immigrant communities.”
This year, in an National Review article headlined “The Intellectual Emptiness of ‘White Supremacy,’” Williamson wrote that although “‘white supremacy’ … used to mean something: the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis and their imitators, race-science crackpottery, etc.,” it no longer has the same meaning. As Williamson argued, now “‘white supremacy’ is only another in the progressive parade of horribles, up there with Islamophobia and transmisogyny, the terrible sin straight men commit if they forgo dating ‘women’ with penises and testicles.”
Writing for the National Review, Williamson criticized former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) for writing a New York Times op-ed by stating, "It should be noted that being shot in the head by a lunatic does not give one any special grace to pronounce upon public-policy questions." Williamson added that Giffords' op-ed was "childish" and "an embarrassment." Williamson doubled down on this criticism of Giffords when he said on HuffPost Live that “the fact that something terrible happens to you doesn’t give you any special understanding of the situation.”
On a 2011 episode of former Fox Business show Following the Money with Eric Bolling, Williamson said that if current economic policies continued, “you’re going to want to have a very good gun.”
After protesters took to the streets in Baltimore in 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, Williamson wrote on Twitter, “I wonder if any of my lefty friends in the DC suburbs are rethinking their Second Amendment rights this week.”
In 2015, Williamson claimed that emissions standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to curtail vehicle pollutants were “phony moral imperatives” and thus Volkswagen’s cheating on the standards should be expected.
Williamson wrote a shining profile of EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt, saying that Pruitt “is in fact a true believer … principled” and that he “is genuinely excited about the possibilities we have for improving the environment.”
On a 2009 episode of the former Fox News program Glenn Beck, Williamson asserted of the Obama administration’s environmental protection policies, “The left always needs an emergency because they can't get this stuff done through normal democratic means.”
In 2014, Williamson compared Cliven Bundy, who got into a armed standoff with law enforcement after refusing to pay grazing fees for his cattle, to “every fugitive slave” and "every one of the sainted men and women who enabled them."
Williamson claimed in 2015 that the arrest of teenager Ahmed Mohammed for bringing a homemade clock to school was "a phony case of Islamophobia.," Williamson then attacked President Barack Obama and other public figures for expressing support for Ahmed, calling their actions "cheap moral preening," and arguing that the story received attention only because it "can be used to further a story" about racism in the United States.
In 2015, Williamson compared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to a Nazi, writing that Sanders’ political views equate to “national socialism,” which Williamson said made him “queasy and uncomfortable” to write because of Sanders’ Jewish heritage and the fact his family was killed in the Holocaust.
Williamson wrote in 2014 that rich Americans “work more -- a lot more” than low-income Americans, pointing to a study claiming that top-bracket income workers inherit a smaller percentage of their wealth than low-income Americans do.
In a 2017 article for National Review, Williamson wrote about “the myth of the idle rich,” saying that wealthy people’s “fortunes do not build themselves” and that “those who are truly passive in their economic lives tend to end up at the unhappy end of the income-distribution curve.”
On the March 23 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Ainsley Earhardt interviewed far-right YouTube personality Laura Tam, known on YouTube as “Roaming Millennial,” effectively elevating Tam’s hate-filled online platform.
Tam appeared on Fox to express her discontent with the decision by all-female Mount Holyoke College to provide professors with techniques to facilitate a friendlier environment for transgender and gender nonbinary students. The segment misrepresented the college’s actions, but more insidiously, it acted as a de facto endorsement of Tam’s vitriolic online platform, where she has associated herself with Milo Yiannopolis’ anti-trans statements, boosted anti-Muslim extremist Tommy Robinson, hyped a false narrative about Sweden’s immigrant-induced “fall,” and embraced the “alt-right” “soy boy” trope. Tam has also been criticized for making “horrendously inaccurate” claims about race, at one point falsely claiming that black people are more likely to commit crimes than white people:
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): An all-women’s college is telling their professors not to say the word “women” in the classroom, instead to use more gender-neutral terms.
What was your reaction to this when you heard this story this week?
LAURA TAM: Honestly, I can't help but chuckle when I hear about things like not wanting to talk about the fact that there are two genders or anything to do with this nonbinary gender stuff. And as funny as I think it is, and I think it is a natural reaction to kind of laugh about, the fact is that this is becoming increasingly common across campuses all over the country and in Canada as well. We have these administrators, these leftist progressives who take their own ideological opinions, their political views and insert them into things like speech codes and diversity classes. They try to codify their opinions into school policies to try to indoctrinate students.
EARHARDT: Do you think they should open the door then for any gender then, because they are considered an all women's school? Actually, I'm not even allowed to say "women." An all-student school.
TAM: Right. And that's what's ironic about this. You have this school that doesn't have gender-inclusive admissions policies, but they're trying to have a gender-neutral environment. I mean, what are they going to do when some high school male footballer decides that he wants to just go and dominate their entire sports team and decides to identify as, I don't know, gender fluid? Because they can't be noninclusive, and they have to accept that. So it's kind of strange now that they're accepting all genders but still not males. I'm not sure how they're really, I guess, rectifying that in their own ideological system.
EARHARDT: Mount Holyoke [College], they sent us a statement. They say, "As we know not every Mount Holyoke student identifies as a woman, but every student has a right to live and learn in an inclusive environment that is free from hostility and respectful of their identity." What's your reaction?
TAM: Well, I guess it's great that they're trying to be inclusive, and they're trying to be accepting. And I respect that. But the fact of the matter is you can't have an all-female school, which is what they're still going to be. I doubt they're going to be opening their admissions to males. You can't have an all-female school when saying things like, "Yeah, you don't have to be female to be here. Once you're actually a student, you can identify whatever you want." I mean, you're kind of going to have to pick one. And I think this is an example of how inconsistent their ideology is.
America First Policies' Carl Higbie: "You put a rag on your head, it’s my right to be suspicious"
A director for the pro-Trump group America First Policies once proudly said that he asks fellow airline passengers whom he deems “Muslim jihad-looking” if they’re terrorists, stating that when “you put a rag on your head, it’s my right to be suspicious.”
Carl Higbie is a right-wing commentator who recently joined America First Policies as its director of advocacy. The organization is one of the leading allies of President Donald Trump; Vice President Mike Pence has been campaigning with the organization and is scheduled to appear at a March 22 event the group is hosting in New Hampshire.
Higbie was hired despite his history of bigotry, which resulted in his resignation as chief of external affairs at the Corporation for National and Community Service in January.
As CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski reported, Higbie said on radio that “‘the black race’ had ‘lax’ morals”; that “black women think ‘breeding is a form of government employment’”; and that he didn’t like Muslims and LGBTQ people. He also stated that members of the military with severe PTSD have "'a weak mind' and said 75% of those afflicted were either lying or milking it for federal money.” In March, CNN also reported that Higbie “shared an N-word laden post written by someone else on Facebook in December 2014.”
Following Higbie’s hiring by America First Policies, Media Matters reviewed several other media appearances he had made and found even more vitriolic comments, including his claim about harassing airline seatmates.
During an April 19, 2013, guest appearance on the internet-based network Renegade Talk Radio, Higbie reacted to the Boston Marathon bombing by bragging that he discriminates against airline passengers who he said look Muslim. From the segment:
CARL HIGBIE: Well, the thing is we need to get over the fact that, you know -- “Oh, you can’t insult the prophet. You can’t insult Islam.” Who the fuck cares how you feel? You’re in my country, all right? We’re not a Muslim country. You put a rag on your head, it’s my right to be suspicious. When I get on an airplane and I’m sitting next to some Muslim jihad-looking dude, I ask him. I say: “Dude, are you a terrorist?” And he gets all bent out of shape. “Oh, what’s that supposed to mean?” Yeah. Because no 90-year-old women have brought down any planes recently. So are you or are you not a terrorist? Answer the fucking question.
During the exchange, co-host Richie Keppler also repeatedly used the anti-Muslim slur “raghead” when talking about the perpetrators of the Boston bombing.
Later during the program, Higbie said: “I say it’s OK to hate Muslims.” He also said during a discussion about morality in the United States: “I just don’t like gay people.” CNN’s KFile also documented that Higbie said in May 2013 on his Sound of Freedom radio program: “I don't like gay people. I just don't." The Greenwich Time reported earlier this week of Higbie's views about LGBTQ people: "'I’ve changed a lot on that topic,' Higbie said, noting, as he had in the past, that he was molested as a child by a man. 'I wish I could take those comments back.'"
In addition to appearing as a guest, Higbie also hosted programs for Renegade Talk Radio. During a November 9, 2013, show, Higbie said (3:44 minutes into the clip): “I have no problem with Muslims in Ameri -- well. I have no problem with Muslims in America here. As long as they conform to being Americans. If they’re going to run around with a towel on their head, I’m going to act suspicious because they’re identifying themselves as Muslim and they’re distinctly saying, ‘Look at me, I’m Muslim.’”
During a November 5, 2013, show, Higbie said (15:00 minutes into the clip) that then-President Barack Obama is “like a Muslim-in-chief infiltrating, infiltrating our government.” He later said (18:54 minutes into the clip) he thought the 2013 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport “may have been an attempt to pull the attention off Obamacare. Now, I could be wrong, and like I said, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, because I really don't think the government is organized enough to commit some of these serious conspiracies, but this -- it’s getting deeper and deeper.”
Media Matters asked America First Polices if it wanted to respond to Higbie's remarks about airplane passengers. Spokesperson Erin Montgomery replied: "I think if you have to go back five whole years to fulfill your mission to expose so-called 'right-wing media lies,' then you may want to be a bit more concerned about the relevance of your nonprofit. As a former U.S. Navy SEAL with two tours of duty in Iraq fighting radical Islam, Carl Higbie risked his life for the better part of a decade to protect the freedoms of all Americans, including those who work at your organization. He's been a warrior on and off the battlefield--a loyal fighter for policies that will help put all Americans first."
*This post has been updated with additional information.
UPDATE (3/16): CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Nathan McDermott reported that Higbie also “shared an N-word laden post written by someone else on Facebook in December 2014.” From their report:
In a December 18, 2014 post, Higbie shared a post that he claimed was written by an 83-year-old black man. The post uses the N-word, uncensored 20 times.
In sharing the post, Higbie wrote, "these are not the words of me, Carl Higbie but that of Williams [sic] G. Lillas." He called the man's thoughts "straight to the point."
The independent fact-checking website Snopes has said the post, which Higbie attributed to Lillas, a war veteran, had been shared around the Internet in various iterations and is "probably false."
Higbie shared the post when the death of Michael Brown, the teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, was in the news. The post refers to Brown by the N-word.
"So, let us be clear, Michael Brown was a nigger; a sorry assed, criminal, hoodlum, nigger. Nobody wants to say that, but I will," the post said.
The post later says black people repeatedly riot and again uses the N-word.
A spokesperson for America First Policies defended Higbie and complained that CNN is purportedly spewing “falsehoods and propaganda.”
ORIGINAL POST: Carl Higbie resigned in disgrace from his appointed government position a few months ago after he was exposed as a bigot who told radio listeners he disliked black, Muslim, and LGBTQ people, among others. A leading pro-Trump group that works closely with the White House has now hired him as a senior official.
America First Policies announced today that Higbie is joining the group as its director of advocacy. Veteran Republican consultant and America First Policies president Brian O. Walsh said in a statement that Higbie’s “esteemed military leadership and service to our great nation -- along with his extensive experience in advocacy, communications and campaigning for candidates for federal office -- will make him an invaluable addition to the America First team.”
Higbie resigned as the chief of external affairs at the Corporation for National and Community Service in January after CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski unearthed vile remarks Higbie made as a radio host “about black Americans, Muslims, women, LGBT people, veterans suffering from PTSD and immigrants.”
CNN reported that his remarks included claiming that "'the black race’ had ‘lax’ morals”; that “black women think ‘breeding is a form of government employment’”; and “that he did not like Muslims.” Higbie also stated that members of the military with severe PTSD have "'a weak mind' and said 75% of those afflicted were either lying or milking it for federal money.” He remarked: “I don't like gay people. I just don't.” And he “said American citizens with guns should be allowed to go to the border to shoot undocumented immigrants crossing into the US.”
Higbie later apologized for his remarks.
America First Policies was started shortly after President Donald Trump’s inauguration by former top advisers to his campaign. It is affiliated with the super PAC America First Action. Advisers to the group have included former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, pundit and former Labor Department official Curtis Ellis, and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Rick Gates, who recently pleaded “guilty to federal conspiracy and false statements,” briefly worked with the group “but was pushed out of that job last year,” as The Associated Press noted.
America First Policies is heavily involved with the Trump White House and his agenda. In recent weeks, Vice President Mike Pence has spoken at the organization's events in Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio, among others.
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