A Trump administration appointee resigned Thursday from the federal agency overseeing AmeriCorps after his past comments disparaging Muslims, gays, blacks, veterans with PTSD and undocumented immigrants were uncovered by the media.
Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL, served as a surrogate for the Trump campaign throughout 2016, and frequently had appearances on news shows. But his stint on the media circuit goes back further than that, according to audio first uncovered by CNN.
“Severe PTSD, where guys are bugging out and doing violent acts, is a trait of a weak mind,” Higbie said on Sound of Freedom, an internet talk-radio show, in February 2013.
In addition to leading the Corporation for National and Community Service — the federal government’s volunteer service organization — Higbie served two tours in Iraq and had an unsuccessful run for the Connecticut State House’s 4th District, according to the Connecticut Post.
Higbie later posted an apology on his verified Twitter account. “I’m not sorry that my words were published, I am sorry that I said them in 2013,” he wrote.
“Those words do not reflect who I am or what I stand for, I regret saying them.”
Other Twitter users noted that some of Higbies comments continued to occur after 2013.
In August 2014, Higbie made more comments concerning PTSD on another web broadcast.
"I'd say 75% 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," Higbie said on the show Women Patriots. "Twenty-five percent legitimately do have problems ... And I really think there are people that cannot deal with the stress of combat and some people can."
Higbie’s unearthed comments did not solely focus on veterans, however.
In November 2016, Higbie cited the U.S. Supreme Court case Korematsu v. United States as “precedent” for the then-president-elect’s proposal to create a registry for immigrants from Muslim nations.
Speaking years earlier on Sound of Freedom in June 2013, Higbie commented, “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. I just don’t like Muslim people because their ideology sucks.
“Go back to your Muslim shithole and go crap in your hands and bang little boys on Thursday nights,” Higbie said.
Concerning illegal immigrants, Higbie told Sound of Freedom in February 2013, that legal citizens should be free to shoot illegals crossing the southern U.S. border.
"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 fo' free,'" Higbie said.
In 2015, Higbie spoke about the birther movement, which questioned whether President Barack Obama’s birth certificate was authentic.
“This birth certificate thing,” Higbie said. “Sure, absolutely legitimate claim. You want to know if this — where was this guy born. That’s a legitimate question.” Higbie later stated that Obama’s birth certificate was “pixelated.”
In a statement, Samantha Jo Warfield, a spokesperson for CNCS, said Higbie would no longer serve as the chief of external affairs for the agency.
“Effective immediately, Carl Higbie has resigned as Chief of External Affairs at CNCS,” Warfield said.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.