A State Department spokesperson argued on Twitter Sunday that “The assertion that @StateDept is ‘racist’ is disgusting and false—a brazen attempt to create division for domestic political gain,” an apparent reaction to a letter from House Democrats and a CNN editorial arguing that a senior department official had improperly worked to remove anti-racism rhetoric from a UN document.
The assertion that @StateDept is “racist” is disgusting and false—a brazen attempt to create division for domestic political gain. State is among the most diverse of government agencies, employing a workforce from every part of America and every region of the globe.
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) September 16, 2018
In June, CNN reported that a Trump appointee in the State Department — former Stephen Miller adviser Andrew Veprek, the deputy assistant secretary for refugees and migration — had suggested multiple changes to a UN document softening the document’s language about combatting racism.
At one point in the usually-uncontroversial UN Human Rights Council document, on the duty of leaders to condemn hate speech, CNN reported, Veprek commented: “‘Duty to condemn’ goes too far. Our public figures can’t be obliged to police every intolerant thought out their [sic] at the risk of being condemned for intolerance themselves.”
CNN noted that the U.S. announced its departure from the Human Rights Council “shortly after” Veprek suggested the changes.
A handful of House Democrats called Veprek out in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, writing, “Ultimately, this latest blunder amplifies the increasingly widespread perception that some officials in the Trump administration are racist and support an anti-foreigner, anti-Muslim discriminatory agenda.”
Commentator David A. Love highlighted the letter and Veprek’s actions in an op-ed published Saturday.
H/t The Hill.