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Trump Appointee Resigns After Bigoted Comments Surface

Carl Higbie has resigned his post at the Corporation for National and Community Service after racist and anti-Muslim comments were reported by CNN. He's seen here in one of the agency's videos.
Corporation for National and Community Service, via YouTube
Carl Higbie has resigned his post at the Corporation for National and Community Service after racist and anti-Muslim comments were reported by CNN. He's seen here in one of the agency's videos.

Carl Higbie, who was appointed by President Trump to serve in the federal agency that runs AmeriCorps and other volunteer service programs, has resigned his high-level post and apologized after a report emerged quoting racist and anti-Muslim remarks he made in 2013.

Ranging from callous to provocative and often tipping into bigotry, Higbie's comments were unearthed by CNN's KFile unit, which published audio clips taken from the Internet talk radio program Sound of Freedom, which Higbie hosted, and other sources. In addition to their bigotry, many of the remarks promulgated outright falsehoods.

"We're promoting birth control to a black woman because of the incredibly high rate of children born out of wedlock that are undercared for or not cared for at all," Higbie said in one quote from a segment in which he accused black people of "a lax of morality."

In another segment that dealt with immigration, Higbie is quoted saying, "What's so wrong with wanting to put up a fence and saying, 'Hey, everybody with a gun, if you want to go shoot people coming across our border illegally, you can do it' " for free.

After the CNN report emerged, Higbie resigned from his post. He also apologized via Twitter, saying: "I'm sorry. I'm not sorry that my words were published, I am sorry that I said them in 2013. Those words do not reflect who I am or what I stand for, I regret saying them."

Higbie said he was resigning so that he wouldn't be a distraction.

Higbie is a former Navy SEAL who served in Iraq and was a Trump surrogate during the 2016 campaign. He was then appointed to the post of chief of external affairs in the Corporation for National and Community Service.

After Trump's election win, Higbie was criticized by members of Congress, including Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., for citing the U.S. use of Japanese internment camps during World War II as a precedent for a potential immigrant registry.

In another quote from the CNN piece, Higbie said, "I was called an Islamophobe and I was like, 'no, no, no, no, no, I'm not afraid of them. I don't like them. Big difference.' And they were like, 'well, you're racist.' I was like, fine if that's the definition of it, then I guess I am.' "

Higbie also criticized the majority of veterans who say they suffer from PTSD, saying that most of them are either "milking" the system for money or lying about their conditions. If a veteran acts out because of PTSD, he said, it's because they have "a weak mind."

In addition to Higbie's own show, he made comments about Muslims and President Barack Obama on online talk radio programs with titles such as Where's Obama's Birth Certificate and Warrior Talk Radio.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: January 19, 2018 at 12:00 AM EST
An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled AmeriCorps as AmericCorps.
Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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