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An anti-gay Trump appointee has been forced to quit after just 18 days

Josh Milton September 4, 2019
Lawyer Leif Olson, was appointed by Trump in 2019 as senior policy analyst (Facebook/Leif Olson)

Lawyer Leif Olson, was appointed by Trump in 2019 as senior policy analyst (Facebook/Leif Olson)

A freshly appointed Trump official with a history of anti-LGBT+ remarks has been forced to quit after anti-Semitic Facebook posts surfaced last week.

Leif Olson joined the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division as a senior policy analyst on 12 August.

But on Friday, just four hours after the posts came to light, Olson was removed from his role.

In 2016, he wrote a post that dived deep into some harmful tropes about Jewish people. This was during an exchange about representative Paul Ryan’s victory in the Republican congressional primary over Paul Nehlen.

Olson scathingly called Ryan an “establishment insider RINO corporate tool”. RINO meaning ‘Republican in name only’.

In the post, laced with sarcasm, the 43-year-old dubbed the win a “massive, emasculating, 70-point victory”.

But when a Facebook user commented calling Ryan a neoconservative – a political branch in favour of international intervention and free-markets – Olson rebuked this.

As, to Oldon, neoconservatives are “all Upper East Side Zionists who don’t golf on Saturday, if you know what I mean”.

(Facebook/Leif Olson)
(Facebook/Leif Olson)

The commentator called back, claiming Ryan is Jewish (this is despite him being Catholic).

Olson replied: “It must be true because I’ve never seen the Lamestream Media report it.

“You know they protect their own.”

According to Bloomberg Law, the news service requested a comment from the White House and the Department of Labor over the comments. Four hours later, the department said he had resigned.

An agency spokesperson told the news service: “Today, the Department of Labor accepted the resignation of Leif Olson effective immediately.”

Furthermore, the White House declined to answer questions. Including whether the Presidential Personnel Office reviewed Olson’s social media history.

This is a standard vetting process in signing off new agency appointees.

In fact, White House Presidential Personnel Office paperwork for candidates of Olson’s status requires them to list all social media accounts.

Trump appointee: “There was no ‘revelation.'”

Speaking to Bloomberg Law last week, Olson hit back at the anti-Semitism claims. He instead argued that he was making fun of anti-Semitism.

“It was sarcastic criticism of the alt-right’s conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic positions,” he said.

In addition, Olson challenged the allegations of anti-Semitism in a Facebook post yesterday by not apologising for his comments, and simply stating that they were always public.

“There was no ‘revelation’ of the Facebook post because there was nothing to reveal,” he wrote.

“It was publicly available on my feed from the moment it was published until last night, when I replaced it with screenshots that redacted commenters’ names to keep them from being harassed.”

In Houston law-circles, Olson built a solo practise built from anti-LGBT+ casework.

Olson frequently challenged marriage equality after the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in 2015.

But he gained notoriety in 2013. Olson joined anti-LGBT+ activist Jared Woodfill and other lawyers in representing two Houstonians in a lawsuit against the city’s move to offer benefits to legally married same-sex spouses of employees.

This was at a time when Texas banned marriage equality.

Moreover, the suit stretched even after the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling in the Supreme Court case, which struck down the state ban.

The challengers contended that marriage equality doesn’t equate to equal benefits. While Olson argued that the city should still be prohibited from paying benefits to the spouses.

Similarly, another Trump appointee resigned after making homophobic remarks last year.

Carl Higbie left his position as chief of external affairs for the government’s volunteer service organisation after saying “I don’t like gay people” on his radio show.

More: Anti-gay, anti-semitism, Republican, trump administration, US

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