VA Boss Pressured Diversity Expert Not to Speak Out on Charlottesville

A top White House appointee at the Department of Veterans Affairs ordered the agency’s chief diversity officer not to issue a forceful condemnation of racially charged violence at the August 2017 Charlottesville rally, which left one person dead. Diversity and race-relations expert Georgia Coffey clashed with John Ullyot, the VA’s chief communications official. Trump blamed “many sides” for the deadly clash in Charlottesville without singling out the white nationalists and neo-Nazis who rallied there. Coffey urged the VA to make a statement condemning the “repugnant display of hate and bigotry by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan,” but Ullyot told Coffey not to post the statement, emails obtained by The Washington Post show. Ullyot was enforcing a directive from the White House, the Post says, but VA spokesman Curt Cashour said the agency received no such guidance from the White House. Coffey retired from VA shortly afterward.