WASHINGTON — Officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Wednesday called for the removal of a senior Veterans Affairs official for his past anti-Muslim comments on social media.
“Someone who promotes conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim bigotry should not be in a policy-making position in our government,” the group’s government affairs director, Robert McCaw, said in a statement.
At issue are a series of Facebook posts by VA Executive Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Thayer Verschoor that were first made public by CNN on Tuesday. Verschoor is an Arizona state senator with close ties to Joe Arpaio, the state’s controversial conservative former county sheriff known for anti-immigrant policies.
The CNN report lists multiple instances of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant comments, including a 2016 post supporting President Donald Trump’s candidacy which states that “(Trump) realizes we have a Muslin (sic) problem in this nation."
Verschoor also offered public support for Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban” on immigrants and in other posts warned that Syrian refugees were “invading our country.” And he promoted Trump’s past assertions that former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate was forged, and he was not an American citizen.
The posts have now been deleted or made private. McCaw called for Verschoor to resign “or failing that, to be fired” from his VA post.
He also called Verschoor’s employment part of a broader concern over “Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist” moves by the administration.
VA officials failed to respond to requests for comment.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.