House Democrats call for resignation of USAID political appointee over remarks about refugees, transgender people

House Democrats call for resignation of USAID political appointee over remarks about refugees, transgender people
© Getty Images

House Democrats are calling for the resignation of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) political appointee over her “history of homophobic, misogynistic, and xenophobic rhetoric.”

In a letter addressed to USAID acting Administrator John Barsa, Democrats on the House Foreign Relations Committee pointed to tweets reported by CNN and other outlets in which deputy White House liaison Merritt Corrigan made disparaging comments about refugees and transgender people. 

The lawmakers argue that Corrigan’s words go against USAID's policy of promoting “a nondiscriminatory and inclusive approach to development.”

ADVERTISEMENT

USAID employees have brought up concerns about Corrigan's statements, Axios reported Wednesday.

“The statements made by Ms. Corrigan create a hostile work environment and are antithetical to the principles the agency, and indeed America, espouses,” the lawmakers wrote. “To date, there has been no public retraction of these comments from Ms. Corrigan, or demand by USAID, or the White House that she retract them, but rather a statement defending Ms. Corrigan as ‘committed to enacting the policies of President Donald J. Trump.'"

“For the sake of USAID’s employees, the beneficiaries it supports around the world, and the core values of the agency, we urge you to immediately condemn this speech, and demand Ms. Corrigan’s resignation," they continue.

Before being appointed as deputy White House liaison at USAID this year, Corrigan worked at Hungary's embassy in the U.S.

Corrigan has talked of a “homo empire” and condemned those who support “the gay agenda.” She has also said she wants to “restore the patriarchy,” arguing against the “false pretense of [women’s] equality with men.”

Corrigan also said immigration is “the hostile governing elite's preferred agent of chaos.”

ADVERTISEMENT

"While USAID does not assist with immigration, many USAID beneficiaries later immigrate to the United States. USAID, in fact, employs many of them, valuing their expertise and skills—knowing that the Agency is richer and better at fulfilling its mission with their help," the members wrote. "Again, Ms. Corrigan’s stated positions are in direct opposition to the work USAID supports."

Barsa has previously defended Corrigan and two other USAID appointees with a history of anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim remarks, saying in a June 8 statement that 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 did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill.