October 21, 2020

Trump appointee Merritt Corrigan fired from USAID amid anti-LGBTQ tweets

Merritt Corrigan, a deputy White House liaison for the U.S. Agency for International Development, was fired Monday, on the same day she ranted about LGBTQ issues on Twitter, according to two former Trump administration officials who spoke to NBC News.

Corrigan, who had held her post for just months, wrote on Twitter that she had been targeted for her “Christian beliefs.”

“Ms. Merritt Corrigan is no longer an employee at the USAID,” the agency’s acting spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala said in a statement to NBC News.

USAID takes any claim of discrimination seriously, and we will investigate any complaints of anti-Christian bias Ms. Corrigan has raised during her tenure at the Agency,” said Jhunjhunwala.

Corrigan, an appointee of the Trump administration, joined the nation’s international development arm several months ago.

She had written on Twitter on Monday, before her termination was announced, “For too long, I’ve remained silent as the media has attacked me for my Christian beliefs, which are shared by the majority of Americans. Let me [be] clear: Gay marriage isn’t marriage. Men aren’t women. US-funded Tunisian LGBT soap operas aren’t America First.”

In another tweet, Corrigan wrote: “The United States is losing ground in the battle to garner influence through humanitarian aid because we now refuse to help countries who don’t celebrate sexual deviancy. Meanwhile, Russia and China are happy to step in and eat our lunch.”

And in another tweet, she wrote, “I watched with horror this week as USAID distributed taxpayer funded documents claiming ‘we cannot tell someone’s sex or gender by looking at them’ and that not calling oneself ‘cis-gendered’ is a microagression I’m not cis-anything. I’m a woman.”

The news site Politico first reported that Corrigan no longer worked at USAID. It was not immediately clear if her tweets on Monday had spurred her termination, but Politico noted that she had “unlocked her previously private Twitter account and unleashed six tweets blasting USAID, congressional Democrats and the media.”

Corrigan did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

USAID’s mission statement says that the agency’s “vision is a world in which the human rights of LGBT persons are respected and able to live with dignity, free from discrimination, persecution, and violence.”

After she was fired, Corrigan tweeted that she would appear at a press conference Thursday with two notorious conservative conspiracy theory peddlers, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, who have a pattern of making outrageous claims against prominent figures unsupported by credible evidence.

Corrigan had been under fire since at least June, when Democratic members of Congress called on her to resign.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and 19 other Democrats wrote acting USAID Administrator John Barsa that Corrigan holds positions “in direct opposition to the work USAID supports.”

The Foreign Affairs Committee tweeted its letter out Monday after Corrigan was fired.

Politico reported last year that Corrigan, who is a former employee of the Republican National Committee, had “written on Twitter that ‘our homo-empire couldn’t tolerate even one commercial enterprise not in full submission to the tyrannical LGBT agenda.'”

She also had previously written on Twitter, “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.”

David Stacy, government director of the advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, in an emailed statement said, “Sadly, Merritt Corrigan is not unique in the Trump Administration. She is the exact type of anti-LGBTQ zealot that Trump recruits and places in positions of power.

“Corrigan’s biased and harmful beliefs are not shared by the vast majority of Americans,” Stacy said. “Corrigan is a symptom of a larger problem, it’s time to hold the Trump-Pence administration accountable at the ballot box and elect a leader this November who supports the fundamental humanity of LGBTQ people and appoints people who share that basic decency.”

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