The Trump Campaign only named five foreign policy advisors in March, and one of them is Joseph E. Schmitz, a former high-level Bush Administration official whose tenure ended awash with partisan complaints by fellow Republicans. He is now accused of targeting Jewish people for termination while working at the Department of Defense while directing a 60,000 person federal investigatory agency overseeing our nation’s military at the start of the Iraq War as McClatchy reports:
Joseph Schmitz is accused of bragging when he was Defense Department inspector general a decade ago that he pushed out Jewish employees. “His summary of his tenure’s achievement reported as ‘…I fired the Jews,’ ” wrote [Daniel] Meyer, a former official in the Pentagon inspector general’s office whose grievance was obtained by McClatchy. Meyer, who declined to comment about the matter, cited in his complaint another former top Pentagon official, John Crane, as the source and witness to the remarks.
Crane worked with Schmitz, who served as inspector general between April 2002 and September 2005…“In his final days, he allegedly lectured Mr. Crane on the details of concentration camps and how the ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews.”
In addition to Schmitz’s law practice, he’s also a former general counsel of the Prince Group, which owns the mercenary corporation Blackwater. The private military company is best known today for the 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Iraq which resulted in the slaughter of seventeen civilians by four soldiers of fortune.
Schmitz is no stranger to partisan attacks resulting from his prior term working for the federal government, playing out in the press and accusing him of official misconduct or corruption. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa – the very same lawmaker who is blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court choice today – accused Schmitz of covering up for Bush-era corruption, according to Newsweek:
Schmitz’s rocky three-and-a-half-year tenure as the Defense Department’s inspector general ended in September 2005 amid a barrage of attacks questioning his leadership, mostly notably from Senator Charles Grassley, the long-serving Iowa Republican who has championed whistleblower rights at the Pentagon. Grassley, then-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, accused Schmitz of blocking investigations of Bush administration officials tied to Iraq and Afghanistan war contracts and questioned his ties to lobbyists.
“Schmitz slowed or blocked investigations of senior Bush administration officials, spent taxpayer money on pet projects and accepted gifts that may have violated ethics guidelines, according to interviews with current and former senior officials in the inspector general’s office, congressional investigators and a review of internal e-mail and other documents,” The Los Angeles Times reported in 2005.
Daniel Meyer filed the complaint in question against Schmitz this past July, which was only released this afternoon by the Merit Systems Protection Board -a panel which tries employment grievances administratively after being submitted by federal employees. Meyer is still in government service today, serving as the head of the Obama Administration’s whistleblower protection unit. Today, Shmitz replied:
“I do not recall ever even hearing of any ‘allegations of anti-Semitism against [me],’ which would be preposterously false and defamatory because, among other reason(s), I am quite proud of the Jewish heritage of my wife of 38 years,” he wrote in an email. Later in a phone interview, he said his wife was not a practicing Jew but “ethnically Jewish” because her maternal grandmother was a Jew.
But multiple others in the Army have leveled similar complaints against Schmitz, who purports to be one of the five people that aren’t “the shows” that Donald Trump turns to for his foreign policy advice.
Trump’s entire campaign is based on racial profiling and religious discrimination, adding misogyny and homphobia with his choice of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. It’s unsurprising that the Trump Campaign – which regularly tweets anti-Semitic messages and wants to profile anyone of dark skin as Muslim too – would retain the services of an anti-Semitic, in a clear nod to his white supremacist and neo-Nazi supporters.
What do you think?
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.