A Trump administration appointee at the United States’ agency responsible for foreign aid has a history of inflammatory rhetoric aimed at refugees, the LGBTQ community and women.
The comments come from Merritt Corrigan, the recently appointed deputy White House liaison at the US Agency for International Development, in tweets in 2019 and 2020. CNN’s KFile reviewed 400 previously unreported tweets from Corrigan’s feed, which were captured by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
Corrigan previously worked at Hungary’s Embassy in the US where she repeatedly tweeted support for far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, calling him “the shining champion of Western civilization,” according to ProPublica, which reported on several of Corrigan’s tweets on June 5.
Axios reported Wednesday that USAID employee groups requested to meet with John Barsa, the acting administrator of USAID, over concerns about Corrigan and several other recent appointees. On June 8, Barsa defended Corrigan and two other appointees with a history of anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim remarks, saying in a statement articles on their comments were “unwarranted and malicious attacks.”
“I have full confidence that each political appointee at USAID has and will continue to implement the President’s policies and agenda to the best of his or her ability,” Barsa said.
USAID spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala also told Axios on Wednesday: “AA Barsa received this letter on Monday, June 22. He will meet with the Employee Resource Group representatives and plans to continue the conversation on the issues mentioned.”
Jhunjhunwala declined to comment further on Monday and pointed CNN’s KFile to her past statements. In response to ProPublica’s report, she said USAID had 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.”
Corrigan did not respond to multiple CNN requests for comment.
“Mass deportations when?,” Corrigan tweeted in October 2019, linking to a 2010 article in which German Chancellor Angela Merkel said German multiculturalism has failed. (A picture of the article was not captured in the tweet, but a link can be viewed in the WebArchive’s source code of the tweet.)
Corrigan frequently criticized notions of gender equality and feminism for running counter to her view that women were primarily mothers and wives and belonged in the home.
In response to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren making a statement in support of same-sex marriage during a Democratic presidential townhall, Corrigan said women shouldn’t be in office.
“This sick statement by Warren, which glibly mocks a real crisis happening in our society, is exactly why women shouldn’t be in office. They will always advocate for themselves at the expense of men, and revel in it,” she tweeted in October 2019.
In another tweet from October, Corrigan attacked a conservative radio host Michael Knowles for sharing a photo of himself with a drag queen.
“Right wing gatekeepers have made it abundantly clear that their allegiance is to Satan and those who carry out his agenda of appalling sexual perversion over those who question the liberal status quo,” she tweeted.
Her expressed views run counter to USAID’s mission statement that LGBTQ people have a right “to live with dignity, free from discrimination, persecution, and violence.”
Bashed refugees and immigration
Corrigan repeatedly expressed hostility towards refugees and immigration, both in the United States and in Europe.
In response to a report on improved conditions in Somalia, Corrigan wrote in October 2019, “Great, can we send the 70,000+ Somalis in Minnesota back then?”
Later, in the same month, she said, “Immigration is the hostile governing elite’s preferred agent of chaos.”
In another pair of tweets she added, “America has no moral imperative to accept immigrants,” and said that “culture is just as relevant if not more” than economics to merit-based immigration. In another tweet, she cheered the United Nations reporting a deficit of $230 million saying, “No more money to promote eternal third world immigration.”
Also in October 2019, Corrigan tweeted support for the far-right Germany political party AfD, an anti-immigration and anti-Muslim group.
“AfD continues to grow nationally. Perhaps the Germans are awakening to the fact that they don’t want to live in a country where Eritrean migrants push their children in front of trains,” she wrote.
Following a report that a sword-wielding man killed one and injured nine in Finland, she demanded to know if he was an immigrant. Reports described the suspect as a native Finn born in 1994.
She also blamed immigration for a rise in violent crime in Britain, writing in November 2019, “Never forget that violent crime in your neighborhood is little more than an ‘electoral headache’ for the political elite that supported the immigration policies responsible for it.”
In another tweet from November, Corrigan mocked conservatives who said Hispanics were “natural conservatives.” Corrigan was responding to a racist tweet that spoke of a hypothetical situation in which a “group of black and latino youths” were beating people and suggested “relevant racial crime data” should be used in crafting immigration policies.
Homophobia and Transphobia
Corrigan repeatedly shared multiple tweets critical of the LGBTQ community and the growing societal trend towards tolerance.
In October 2019, she shared a Breitbart article which reported that anti-transgender ads bolster Republican turnout in elections, and said, “We have to speak out now about the transsexual agenda before it becomes normalized.”
Later, in the same month, she linked the acceptance for LGBTQ teens was related to an increase in teen suicides and also mocked former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is gay, for pretending to be in a “real marriage.”
Corrigan was particularly critical of conservatives who embraced LGBTQ people, writing in October 2019, “The morally bankrupt GOP must be held accountable for its total capitulation to, and tacit endorsement of, the gay agenda.”
In another instance she mocked conservative tolerance of gay people writing, “The conservative case for just throwing in the towel and embracing globohomo.”
In October 2019, Corrigan called for establishing a “Christian patriarchy,” and when another user compared her belief to Shariah law, she said her worldview was a “dignified and respectful way of organizing society.”
Later that month, she wrote in response to a tweet from far-right commentator Peter Sweden, “Western women are slowly waking up to the lies of feminism and the organized effort to push us toward an empty life of isolation and childlessness.”
In November 2019, she said that “female empowerment is a civilizational calamity and a Trojan horse for corporate interests.” Later that month, she said that “birth control is an evil tool that has been used to systematically manipulate women into believing casual sex doesn’t hurt them as long as don’t get pregnant.”