Anti-Gay Zealot Resurfaces in Trump Administration

Filed in Featured, National by on April 11, 2017

Pro Publica (you really should contribute since it’s journalism that makes a difference), posted this story about an anti-gay obsessive from the Bush years who shipped suspected gays out from his agency, and who has resurfaced as a Trump appointee:

It was one of the uglier scandals of the Bush administration: Top officials at an agency dedicated to protecting whistleblowers launched a campaign against their own employees based on suspected sexual orientation, according to an inspector general report.

Staffers were abruptly reassigned from Washington, D.C., to a new office 500 miles away in Detroit in what the head of the office reportedly described as an effort to “ship [them] out.” Staffers who refused were fired.

The architect of this purge was one James Renne:

In December, James Renne was appointed to the Trump “landing team” at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as part of the transition effort between the election and the inauguration. He was then hired Jan. 30 in a senior role at the Department of Agriculture, though his exact job duties are not clear.

What Renne did back in 2004 was despicable.  He went on a one-man Holy War against gays:

From the (Inspector General’s) report: “Mr. Renne was depicted as intently searching the OSC website with the assistance of a senior career official to identify passages which interpreted [the nondiscrimination law] as extending protection to employees on the basis of their sexual orientation. According to this account, Mr. Renne demanded that OSC’s information technology manager remove these materials from the website immediately.”

Renne had been a signatory to a 2000 letter from right-wing Catholics arguing against the election of Al Gore, in part due to his support for the ‘homosexual agenda’:

“The homosexual agenda has apparently become the radicals’ legal cause du jour. One reason is that Bill Clinton and Al Gore have appointed federal judges, including those to the Supreme Court, who are giving legal legitimacy and force to the homosexual movement.

Al Gore has adopted the homosexual agenda in its entirety. He has promised the same legal privileges for same-sex “couples” as those currently afforded married couples. In explaining his position, Gore makes a distinction without a difference:

“I think there is a difference between marriage as the institution has traditionally been known and celebrated and recognized, and [same-sex] civic unions. But I think the legal protection should be on an equal part… I favor legally recognized [same-sex] civic unions that have the legal protections of the kind that marriage confers.”When asked if he was in favor of relaxing immigration rules to confer U.S. citizenship to non-citizens in a same-sex pairing, Gore explained:

“I favor legal protections for [same-sex] civic unions, and I think the rights that are afforded on an American who gets married to someone from another country should be afforded under a legally protected [same-sex] civic union in the same way.”Sooner or later, the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman only for purposes of law, will be challenged by the homosexual lobby. Given Gore’s views, it is difficult to imagine a Gore Administration, or his Supreme Court nominees, making a serious effort to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.”

I guess it should’ve been no surprise that he would be rewarded with a political appointment by Dubya. But I doubt even Dubya expected him to view this as a mandate, carried out in concert with Renne’s boss at the Office of Special Counsel, Scott Bloch:

…that there was a sizeable group of homosexuals employed by OSC, which had developed during the years prior to his taking office, that he “had a license” to get rid of homosexual employees, and that he intended to “ship them out.”

Which he did. Either to Detroit. Or to the unemployment line.  Following several lawsuits, there were settlements between the government that remain sealed.  Following Renne’s forced departure from the OSC, he has been publicly invisible:

There’s little public record of what Renne has been doing since his time working with Bloch. The Trump landing team announcement identified him as working for Renne Law. A fellow member of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence landing team said that Renne had worked at the ODNI inspector general office. And Bloch said he also heard that Renne had gotten a job in the intelligence community after their work together. An ODNI spokesman declined to comment.

He’s back at the Department of Agriculture, courtesy of Trump.  Someone with such virulent anti-gay views will not just sink into the background.  Keep a close eye on any purges coming out of that Department. And be prepared to raise hell and then to litigate.


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  1. chris says:

    Disturbing revelation. Good journalistic work to root this out and expose it.