A senior adviser in the Department of Housing and Urban Development was fired after anti-Trump writings penned during the presidential campaign surfaced as he was being vetted for his new job, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Shermichael Singleton had been working in HUD since Jan. 23, the Times reported. But he was fired in the late stages of a background check when officials from HUD and the White House uncovered writings critical of President Donald Trump penned during the presidential campaign, according to two unnamed people briefed on the matter who spoke to the Times.
Jereon Brown, HUD’s general deputy assistant secretary of public affairs, confirmed to TPM that Singleton’s tenure has ended Wednesday. But, citing Singleton’s privacy rights, would not give more information about the “personnel issue.” Singleton, whom TPM reached by phone, said he couldn’t talk about his departure from HUD.
The White House did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.
An unnamed source close to Singleton told the Times that an opinion article critical of Trump – “A Republican asks: Aren’t we morally obliged to stand up to Trump?” – had come up earlier in the vetting process. Singleton answered questions about the piece and expressed remorse for it, the Times said, but when he was fired on Wednesday, HUD officials reportedly told him it was the reason for his termination.
In the op-ed, Singleton criticized Trump’s portrayal of “inner cities,” and Trump’s pledged devotion to “law and order.”
“As an African-American, like so many of my peers, I am concerned about police brutality, the lack of economic and educational opportunities for our urban cities, and the complete disregard for criminal justice reform,” he wrote. “Hearing the nominee of my party ignore these harsh truths and opt for words like ‘law and order’ sounds like a coded message from an era in our history that should stay in the past.”