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VA Diversity Official's Statement Against White Supremacists Rejected by Trump Appointee

Georgia Coffey reached a tipping point when her request to condemn white supremacists after the deadly Charlottesville, Va., rally was squashed by a Department of Veterans Affairs communications official, according to emails

A white supremacists carries the Confederate flag in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017. / REUTERS

The top communications official at the Department of Veterans Affairs reportedly told Georgia Coffey, the chief diversity officer, not to condemn white supremacists after the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va. Coffey chose to rock the bigot boat, but frustrated by lack of support from the Trump administration, she jumped ship.


Coffey, a career senior executive at VA, pushed the agency to issue a statement against the "repugnant display of hate and bigotry by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan," according to emails from August 2017, given to The Washington Post by American Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group.

Coffey's statement conflicted with President Trump's response in which he blamed "many sides" for the rally where Heather Heyer was killed. She also said that Charlottesville was "a tragic reminder that our work in civil rights and inclusion is not finished."

The same week Coffey drafted the remarks for dissemination by VA Secretary David Shulkin, he broke with Trump by saying the violence "outraged" him, which made waves.

So John Ullyot, the VA's chief communications official, a Trump appointee, told Coffey in an email to stand down.

His directive allegedly came from the White House, where officials were "scrambling to contain the fallout from Trump's comments," sources told The Post.

Coffey intended for the statement to be sent to 380,000 VA employees of whom more than 40 percent are minorities. It would've also been made public.

She said in an email that paring down the statement would "dilute my message and fail to convey the sense of condemnation that I hope we all feel."

It seems the racism and violence that occurred in Charlottesville, along with Trump's indifference prompted a tipping point in her career at the VA — Coffey published the statement on her own.

The full remarks were published under her name in the September 2017 newsletter posted by the VA's diversity office. But it was removed and she was reportedly reprimanded.

On the VA's Office of Diversity and Inclusion website, there's no newsletter listed for September 2017.

Coffey retired from her position after getting burnt by the Trump administration. In November 2017, she began work as senior manager for diversity and inclusion at Lockheed Martin. She has not commented to the press about the discovery of the emails.

Reader Question: Georgia Coffey made a bold move. Would you have done the same in a similar situation?

The Conversation (3)
John Fuller07 Dec, 2018

You forgot to add Lou that Itild her to tone it down and actually wrote another memo for Georgia that included most of her comments. Yet it provided a little more balance with mention of Antifa and other instigators. I wirked with Georgia for 8 years. I did not want to lose her fir the VA. As a result of her statement I retired because the zVA decided not to suppirt the much needed race relations dialogues i heeld nationwide that were acclaimed and had unparalleled results.

Do not despair, i am back with another federal agency who dies support these dialogues.

votetocorrect07 Dec, 2018

Why did this take so long to come out, and how do we get rid of the road blocks?

Coast Guard Lieutenant Plotted to Kill Democrats and Journalists

Christopher Paul Hasson's intended targets included Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Cory Booker and CNN's Don Lemon.

Authorities have arrested Christopher Paul Hasson, a 49-year-old coast guard lieutenant, who intended to conduct a mass killing.

Hasson is a self-proclaimed white nationalist who had a detailed plan to execute prominent Democratic politicians as well as several journalists from CNN and MSNBC. He devised his plan with inspiration from Anders Breivik, who successfully completed terrorist attacks in 2011 that killed 77 people in Norway.

In order to get prepared to carry out his mission, Hasson accumulated steroids and human growth hormone "to increase his ability to conduct attacks," as outlined in Breivik's manifesto.

According to court documents filed on Tuesday, Hasson intended "to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."

Documents also state that "the defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct."

A spokesman for the US Coast Guard Headquarters, Barry Lane stated, "An active duty Coast Guard member, stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., was arrested last week on illegal weapons and drug charges as a result of an ongoing investigation led by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, in cooperation with the FBI and Department of Justice."

Because this is an open investigation, the Coast Guard has no further details at this time.

While the master plan was to "kill almost every last person on the earth," his current hit list consisted of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Kamala Harris of California, as well as former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas. Journalists on the list included CNN's Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones and MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Ari Melber and Joe Scarborough.

When law enforcement agents searched Hasson's house, they found 15 guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Hasson is scheduled to appear in Court on Thursday for a hearing.

Proud Boys' Chairman Sat Behind Trump at Miami Rally

Proud Boys is a far-right, extremist group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Twitter

On Monday, President Trump gave a speech in Miami to his supporters, and a member of the Proud Boys — who wore a "Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong!" T-shirt — sat in a prime spot behind him.

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Middle School Student Arrested After Refusing to Recite Pledge of Allegiance

Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher, asked the student why he continues to live in the U.S., "if it's so bad here."

An 11-year-old boy was arrested for not following orders and "causing a disruption" when he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class.

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Rev. William Barber Condemns Evangelicals Who Support Trump's Policies

"I'm a Christian evangelical, I grew up in the Christian faith, and one of the most clear public policies that you're supposed to engage in as a just society is fairness toward the strangers, immigrants," Barber said.

The NAACP and Rev. Dr. William Barber called out evangelical Christians who back President Donald Trump's family separation policy, and called the policy racist.

"We see this happening," Barber said, "and this attack on children — we know it's brown children, it wouldn't be happening if it wasn't brown children at the southern border — is white supremacy, white nationalism, being implemented in our public policy right in front of our faces."

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Racist Shopper Threatens to Call ICE on Haitian Woman, Keys Her Car

"I will take your photo and send it to ICE. You don't belong here," said the attacker.

Lola Jean-Baptiste, a Haitian immigrant with U.S. citizenship, was attacked and threatened by an angry middle-aged white woman in Brockton, Mass.

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State Sen. Nikema Williams: 'I Was Unlawfully Arrested at the Georgia Capitol — My Workplace'

Williams is taking a stand to prevent the mistreatment of women of color by law enforcement.

WSB-TV Screenshot

Georgia State Sen. Nikema Williams, the first Black woman elected to lead the state's Democratic party, was jailed last year for just standing among protesters at the state Capitol. Williams is now taking a stand to prevent the mistreatment of women of color by law enforcement.

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