President Donald Trump's Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Teresa Manning has associated herself with a conservative in the past who went down in history as a defender of Holocaust deniers.
Manning, who has been designated to take over family planning duties at the HHS, isn't just a controversial figure because of her opposition to having government manage family planning itself. As it turns out, she has been involved with projects that included at least one conservative writer, who in the past was associated with an organization that oftentimes pushed Holocaust denial.
In 2003, Manning was the editor of “Back to the Drawing Board: The Future of the Pro-Life Movement,” a book containing several anti-abortion essays. One of the essays was written by Joe Sobran, a self-described anti-Iraq war paleo-conservative whose criticism of Israel's treatment of Arabs wasn't enough to insulate him from scrutiny as he became involved with the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) by giving speeches at the organization's annual convention.
IHR, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) indicates, is a longtime anti-Semitic "pseudo-academic organization that claims to seek ‘truth and accuracy in history,’ but whose real purpose is to promote Holocaust denial and defend Nazism.”
But Manning's involvement with Sobran doesn't stop there.
During a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., Manning introduced Sobran with flattering words:
“He’s a writer and columnist, a former senior editor at National Review, a known authority on topics as diverse as the United States Constitution and Shakespeare. He authored the chapter in the book called 'The Republican Lesser Evil.' He was tasked with critiquing the Republican Party record [on abortion]. He has been called the finest columnist of his generation as well as a national treasure. I wholeheartedly agree with both statements.”
In her anti-abortion book's preface, Manning called all contributors, including Sobran, “statesmen, scholars, doctors, lawyers, judges, activists, and mothers” who she had “respected and admired” throughout her professional life. But even at the time, Sobran was highly criticized within conservative circles over his “contextually anti-Semitic” writings. That didn't stop Manning from both working with and praising the man who shared the stage at IHR with David Irving, one of the most well-known Holocaust deniers of the time, according to the SPLC.
Despite having this episode as part of her not-so-distant past, Manning is a Trump administration official who's ready to take on policy-making duties. For a president showing he has a hard time disavowing racist organizations, having an official who's been associated with writers tied to dubious organizations isn't the best strategy, to say the least.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria