Faith Vander Voort is the new top spokesperson for the Interior Department. She has come under fire for her past comments about Muslims, HuffPost reported.
Vander Voort, 23, was promoted to the department’s press secretary position this month after serving as the deputy press secretary for the past year. She previously worked as a communications aide for the Republican Study Committee, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, and Fox News analyst Angela McGlowan. She also interned for Iowa Rep. Steve King, a Republican who was condemned by his own party for defending white supremacists.
HuffPost reported on Tuesday that Vander Voort made numerous anti-Muslim comments on The Daily Nerv, a website she co-founded about a year before joining the Trump administration, and in various blog posts.
According to the report, Vander Voort defended violating Muslims’ civil liberties by surveilling their online activity and phone calls and wrote that a Muslim “could never serve” as president “because their own religion strictly prohibits them from taking an oath to anything other than Allah.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Faith Vander Voort is the New Interior Department Press Secretary
Vander Voort was promoted to the Interior Department’s press secretary position last week, E&E News reported.
Vander Voort has been with the Interior Department since March 2018, when she was hired as a deputy press secretary.
Despite her young age, Vander Voort has long been involved in Republican politics, interning for several Republican lawmakers, as well as at The Daily Signal, a conservative news outlet funded by The Heritage Foundation.
2. Vander Voort Previously Worked for Controversial Republicans
Vander Voort, who graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2017, began her career in politics as a press intern for Rep. Steve King, a controversial lawmaker who had his committee assignments stripped by his own party after defending white supremacy in an interview with The New York Times.
Vander Voort later worked as a communications aide for Republican Tyler Fischella’s unsuccessful congressional run in 2016, during which time she also interned at The Daily Signal and worked for Fox News analyst Angela McGlowan, according to her LinkedIn profile.
In the summer of 2017 she was named Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar’s press secretary and also served as a digital adviser to the Republican Study Committee.
3. Vander Voort Defended Violating Muslims’ Civil Liberties
Vander Voort appeared on “The Word” podcast on her now-defunct news outlet The Daily Nerv in June of 2017, where she said she does not believe it is a violation of civil liberties for intelligence agencies to surveil Muslim communities in the wake of the London Bridge attack.
“I think that terrorists attacking us are the real infringement on our freedom,” she said. “Our freedom comes from our safety and ability to follow our dreams and live a happy and free life here in the United States. It doesn’t come from us being able to send whatever we want without anyone looking.”
The podcast episode, HuffPost reported, “is chock full of the very anti-Muslim rhetoric that has emboldened extremists around the globe, and that is all but indistinguishable from white nationalist talking points.”
4. Vander Voort Said a Muslim Can Never Be President
HuffPost previously reported that Vander Voort made anti-Muslim comments in blog posts while she interned for Rep. King, who has repeatedly espoused anti-Muslim views.
Vander Voort said a Muslim person can never be president in defense of then-Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, who said he would “not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”
“A devout Muslim,” Vander Voort wrote, “could never serve in the Oval Office of the United States of America, not because of exclusion or discrimination, but because their own religion strictly prohibits them from taking an oath to anything other than Allah.”
She went on to say that any Muslim person elected president would “either be a shoddy and inconsistent Muslim or subject to impeachment the moment they took office because Shariah Law and the United States Constitution are not compatible.”
5. Vander Voort Believes Terrorism is a Bigger Threat Than Climate Change
Vander Voort also criticized liberals for considering climate change a bigger threat than terrorism in the podcast episode.
“The left is so upset because they genuinely believe that climate change ― quote unquote, ‘climate change’ ― is the biggest threat to our society,” Vander Voort said. “Which to me, is ridiculous. Look in Manchester, look in London. That is the biggest threat to our society, not climate change. I just think it’s delusional.”
Dozens of people were killed in the Manchester and London Bridge attacks. According to the World Health Organization, climate change will cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 if drastic global action is not taken.