A newly appointed religious freedom adviser at the United States’ agency responsible for foreign aid has a long history of making inflammatory and anti-Islam remarks, including calling for an armed revolution if the Tea Party did not win at the ballot box.
Tea Party activist Mark Kevin Lloyd, who served as a Trump campaign staffer in 2016, was recently appointed as an adviser to the US Agency for International Development where his role calls for advancing religious freedom abroad as a human right.
A CNN KFile review of comments made by Lloyd reveal Lloyd’s long history of making anti-Islam comments in social media posts from 2010 through 2014 Lloyd wrote the “Facts are frightening” about Islam, expressed fear that Muslims were “all around us” and that the religion “certainly impacted America. Will we ever recover?”
A USAID spokesperson and Lloyd did not respond to requests for comment.
Lloyd’s appointment has previously come under scrutiny. The Washington Post first reported in a May op-ed on his new role, shining a light on Lloyd’s past Islamophobic comments, which included falsely linking former President Barack Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational organization that advocates for the application of radical Islamist teachings in all aspects of society, and writing that those who think Islam is a peaceful were ignorant to the history of the religion.
A USAID spokesperson defended some of Lloyd’s post in response to the Washington Post, noting Lloyd’s comments “were in reference to radical Islam, not Islam.” The Associated Press reported in 2016 that Lloyd called Islam a “barbaric cult” and said that the religion was “violent in its doctrine and practice” when Lloyd worked as a Trump campaign staffer in Virginia.
Lloyd’s appointment as a religious freedom adviser to USAID comes as the agency’s reputation has taken a hit for hiring appointees with anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ worldviews that contradict the agency’s stated mission statement to advance democratic values–including religious freedom and LGBTQ inclusivity–abroad.
CNN’s KFile previously reported on another Trump appointee to USAID, Merritt Corrigan, who repeatedly said anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim comments on social media. Two weeks ago, Axios reported that USAID employee groups requested to meet with John Barsa, the acting administrator of USAID, over concerns about recent appointees, including Lloyd and Corrigan. On June 8, Barsa defended Corrigan and Lloyd in a statement, calling articles on their comments “unwarranted and malicious attacks.”
Lloyd said the ‘facts are frightening’ about Islam
Lloyd became active in Tea Party politics in the early 2010s, serving as the chairman of the Lynchburg Tea Party in Virginia in 2010 and 2011. On his personal social media channels and sometimes on the party’s chapter Facebook page, Lloyd wrote about the so-called “frightening” facts of Islam.
In a May 2010 post that appeared on Lloyd’s Twitter account and also appeared on the Facebook page of the Lynchburg Tea Party, Lloyd wrote, “Tonight I went to a presentation about Islam in USA. Facts are frightening, and everyone should be aware of what is going on around us.”
“Main points are they [Muslims] are well funded, socially accepted, given preference by this administration, and [are] all around us. PC (Politically Correct) is going to allow this Republic to collapse, but we already know this,” the Facebook post added in a comment. “We are on our own with it, because our government is either being bought off, or is just to (sic) stupid to see what is going on.”
On his personal Twitter account, Lloyd tweeted in August 2014 that “Islam has certainly impacted America. Will we ever recover?” Other tweets asked his followers why they had a “soft spot for Islam,” and said, “Islam in Paris. Coming to your neighborhood. It is just a matter of time.”
Contrary to USAID’s comments to the Post, Lloyd does not refer to “radical Islam” in any of these posts but the entirety of the religion.
Lloyd warned a violent revolt would come if Tea Partiers weren’t successful at ballot box
Lloyd’s inflammatory remarks extend far beyond his Islamophobic comments, however.
At a Tea Party Tax Day rally in 2010, Lloyd warned that a violent revolt would come if Tea Partiers weren’t successful at the ballot box.
“Now that we know what we’re doing, we now started to revolt. And I pray to God that this revolt is one that we can handle with a ballot. Because if we can’t handle with the ballot [sic], God forbid what comes next. If it isn’t the ballot, at some point, it will be a bullet,” Lloyd said.
“Do we want that?” Lloyd asked the crowd. The crowd booed “no!” Months later, the Tea Party movement swept Republicans into power in the House during the 2010 midterm election.
Lloyd also has attacked Democrats and liberals on social media. In posts captured by the left-wing Virginia website Blue Virginia in 2018, Lloyd referred to both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett as an “evil b*tch” in 2015. He shared an image of Clinton dressed as Hitler, with a Hitler mustache and swastika also in 2015.