A pro-life activist whom President Trump appointed to run the Department of Health and Human Services’ family planning programs once praised a controversial writer who repeatedly defended Holocaust deniers and was once fired for writing columns that his own editor called “anti-Semitic.”
Teresa Manning, a new deputy assistant secretary at HHS, edited a book of pro-life essays in 2003, and moderated a panel discussion in Washington that year to promote it, Mother Jones magazine recounted on Monday. In her remarks, she praised Joseph Sobran, who was also speaking and had contributed to the book, saying that Sobran “has been called the finest columnist of his generation as well as a national treasure. I wholeheartedly agree with both statements.”
However, Manning could have been aware that a few months prior, Sobran had spoken at the annual conference of the Institute for Historical Review, a prominent Holocaust denial organization. In his remarks to the IHR, Sobran claimed that “The only discernible duty of Jews, it seems, is to look out for Israel.” He said that he was not himself a Holocaust denier, but, he asked, “Why on earth is it ‘anti-Jewish’ to conclude from the evidence that the standard numbers of Jews murdered are inaccurate, or that the Hitler regime, bad as it was in many ways, was not, in fact, intent on racial extermination?”
Because of this, The American Conservative magazine — co-founded by Pat Buchanan — withdrew an offer for Sobran to write a column.
Sobran’s extreme views should not have been a surprise to Manning or anyone else: In 1993, he was fired by National Review, the most prominent right-wing magazine of its time, for writing articles that editor William F. Buckley called “contextually anti-Semitic.”