Just one year ago, Navy veteran and former SEAL Carl Higbie interviewed to be and was under serious consideration as President Trump’s press secretary before he lost that job to fellow Navy man Sean Spicer.
Higbie did land a high-profile gig as Chief of External Affairs at CNCS, the Corporation for National & Community Service. That’s the agency that oversees public service projects like AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. But he resigned from that position last week amid a furor over recently unearthed comments he made in recent years.
After he completed his military service, Higbie ran for Congress in Connecticut in 2014 and was an active commentator on conservative media. It was that career that came back to cause him trouble.
On Friday, a CNN KFile story compiled a few of the statements he made during his commenting appearances and Highbie promptly resigned from his CNCS post.
He then took to Twitter for a public apology.
I’m sorry. I’m not sorry that my words were published, I am sorry that I said them in 2013. Those words do not reflect who I am or what I stand for, I regret saying them. Last night I informed the WH that I was resigning so as not to distract from POTUS’ many success. #noexcuses— Carl Higbie (@CarlHigbie) January 19, 2018
Here’s a question: if those words don’t represent who he is or what he stands for, was Higbie just clowning for a paycheck, saying outrageous things to “build the brand” in conservative media? Or did he believe these things when he said them and now he’s sorry that everyone knows what he thinks?
Here are a few things that U.S. Navy veteran Carl Higbie said:
1. On PTSD
On Sound of Freedom radio in February 2013, he embraced some surprising opinions about military veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress as he talked about a military member named Brandon:
"Yeah I'm a gonna go out on limb here and say, a lot of people are going to disagree with this comment. But severe PTSD, where guys are bugging out and doing violent acts, is a trait of a weak mind. Now things like Brandon, where he was legitimately blown up and a loud noise makes him on edge -- completely understandable, but when someone performs an act of violence that is a, it is a weak mind. That is a crazy person, and the fact that they're trying to hide it behind PTSD makes me want to vomit."
On the Women Patriots Blog Talk Radio show in August 2014, he followed up by saying this:
"I'd say 75% of people with PTSD don't actually have it, and they're either milking something for a little extra money in disability or they're just, they honestly are just lying. Twenty-five percent legitimately do have problems. They have bad dreams. They can't cope. They have problems with noises and things like that. And I really think there are people that cannot deal with the stress of combat and some people can."
2. On Undocumented Immigrants
In a February 2013 episode of "Sound of Freedom," Higbie asserted 2nd amendment rights for U.S. citizens confronting undocumented immigrants.
"What's so wrong with wanting to put up a fence and saying, 'hey, everybody with a gun, if you want to go shoot people coming across our border illegally, you can do it fo' free?’ And you can do it on your own, and you'll be under the command of the, you know, National Guard unit or a Border Patrol, I think stick a fence six feet high with signs on it in both English and Spanish and it says 'if you cross this border, this is the American border, you cross it, we're going to shoot you.'"
3. On Gay Americans
In May 2013 on Sound of Freedom, Higbie made clear his opinions on homosexuality.
"Rhode Island, land of more liberals, has just OK'ed, gay marriage. Congratuf'in'lations, you suck, Rhode Island. Why would you do that? Go ahead and twist the knife a little, little bit more. I mean, you are breaking the morals, the moral fiber of our country. You know, I don't like gay people. I just don't.
Later in the program, he went into more detail.
"I talk about this in my book, you know, I was, I was molested by a gay guy when I was a young kid and that kind of set the precedence for me. So I, I just, I really don't care for them. You know what, you want to be gay? Fine. Do it over in your own corner. If I was president of the United States, I wouldn't make laws saying you can't be gay because I believe that's your right. So go over there, be gay, don't march down in the middle of the street and your drag outfit being fairies and things like that. Don't throw it in my face. Don't make me like it because I don't -- do it on your own. Do it over there and let it be your thing."
4. On President Obama’s Birth Certificate
Higbie does not believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. In 2015, he spoke with "Where's Obama's Birth Certificate" radio and said the president’s birth certificate was “pixelated.”
"This birth certificate thing. Sure, absolutely legitimate claim. You want to know if this, where was this guy born. That's a legitimate question."
5. On People Receiving Government Assistance
In June 2016, while appearing as a guest on Global Patriot Radio, Higbie said this:
"If you have taken any benefit, if you have elected to take any benefit from the government at any given time during any election cycle, you do not get to vote at the subsequent election. Because now you have people voting for a living. They don't have to work, and if you want to solve them now -- it's very hard to get something like this past, I'll be honest -- but if you pass something like that, what you would see is, you would see people who aren't contributing to the system, not voting for the system and you'll have a massive slide to the right in this country."
What do you think? Should Higbie’s comments have cost him his job? Should a former SEAL temper his words and opinions if he's out there identifying himself as a "former SEAL" or does he no long have an obligation to his unit's image once he's completed is service?