Carl Higbie – Photo: Corporation for National and Community Service, via YouTube.
A Trump appointee to the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps and other national service programs has resigned after news media published past remarks he made disparaging African-Americans, Muslims, LGBTQ people, women, veterans with PTSD, and undocumented immigrants.
Carl Higbie, the chief of external affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service, had served for just under six months when he resigned on Thursday after CNN unearthed various comments he made prior to his appointment that have been characterized as racist, anti-Muslim, sexist, and anti-gay.
In one of the comments uncovered by CNN, Higbie said you could “guess the color” of a family he described that lived in his condo association.
“I told this story the other day on my show. Somebody who lives in my condo association that has five kids, and it’s her and her husband with the five kids and the mother, the grandmother of the kids, and they don’t have jobs, they’re there all the time — I bet you can guess what color they are — and they have no job,” he said.
In 2013, Higbie worked on the “Sound of Freedom,” a right-wing Virginia Beach-based Internet talk radio show, where he expressed disdain for the term “African-Americans,” saying that most people who classify themselves as such “have never been to Africa.” He also said, during another show, that black women think “breeding is a form of government employment,” that blacks were “lax of morality,” and that culture “is breeding this welfare and the high percentage of people on welfare in the black race.”
Higbie also has a history of anti-Muslim comments, saying he doesn’t like Muslims “because their ideology sucks,” adding that he was fine if people characterized him as racist for making those comments.
“I just don’t like Muslim people. People always rip me a new one for that. ‘Carl, you’re racist, you can’t, you’re sexist.’ I’m like Jesus Christ,” Higbie said on the radio show.
He also appeared on another podcast, Warrior Talk Radio, in 2014, where he bragged about being labeled an “Islamophobe.”
“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,'” he said on the show. “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, a former Navy SEAL, also derided military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as having “a weak mind.” His comments about that community were particularly concerning, as several CNCS are intended to support veterans and their families by helping them transition when they return from service abroad.
“I’d say 75 percent of people with PTSD don’t actually have it, and they’re either milking something for a little extra money in disability or they’re just, they honestly are just lying,” he said on a third radio show.
On the “Sound of Freedom,” Higbie said that Americans with guns should be legally allowed to shoot undocumented immigrants who attempt to cross into the United States at the border.
“You cross my border, I will shoot you in the face. … I’ll volunteer to go down there and stand on that border for, I don’t know, a week or so at a time and that’ll be my civil duty.”
He called California Sen. Dianne Feinstein a “bitch” for her advocacy of gun reform measures like background checks, and said he’d love to smack her and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s heads together.
He also blasted the legalization of gay marriage in Rhode Island, saying: “Congratuf’in’lations, you suck, Rhode Island. Why would you do that? I mean, you are breaking the morals, the moral fiber of our country. You know, I don’t like gay people. I just don’t.”
Both CNCS and the White House have declined to comment on the situation surrounding Higbie’s resignation.
Higbie later took to Twitter to issue a full apology, tweeting: “I’m sorry. I’m not sorry that my words were published. I am sorry I said them in 2013. Those words do not reflect who I am or what I stand for, I regret saying them. Last night I informed the White House that I was resigning so as not to distract from POTUS’ many successes. #noexcuses.”