WASHINGTON – The Biden administration moved quickly on Thursday to name new leadership in the Voice of America and other US-funded media, which recently replaced Trump’s aide with a news editor.
In his first full day in office, the Biden administration sacked Voice of America director, Robert Reilly, and his deputy, Elizabeth Robbins, and replaced them with veteran journalists with long careers at the VOA and other government-funded networks. Statement by the US Agency for Global Media, which oversees media outlets.
Reilly was replaced by Yolanda Lopez, a news editor who would serve as acting director at VOA. At an event on January 11 at the headquarters of the Valley of America, Reilly reassured Lopez a few days ago that one of the reporters under her supervision had asked the then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo gave a speech and sat down with Reilly for a question and answer session, but reporters were not given a chance to answer the questions. When a VOA reporter, White House correspondent Patsy Widakuswara, tried to ask questions, Reilly shouted at him, according to a recent protest letter from VOA reporters. Hours later, Villukusvara was defeated by Reilly by the White House.
A conservative commentator, Reilly, is the author of books such as “Making Gay OK: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything”.
Even after Job Biden was sworn in as president on Wednesday, Robbins and another former Trump administration agency political appointee, John Jaggers, continued their efforts to fire several employees on Thursday, according to David Seed, staffers A lawyer representing.
Both pushed for the removal of staff members, even though the Biden administration had issued instructions to suspend any personnel action or proceedings on VOA and other networks.
Shortly after midnight on Thursday, the four employees received a letter from the Jaggers stating that they were “being laid off as of the date of this letter”, said Seed, who shared excerpts of the document with NBC News Have done.
Seed said the new leadership at the US Agency for Global Media, which had already formally taken the helmet late Wednesday night, quickly canceled the letter on Thursday.
Jagger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
At around 1pm on Thursday afternoon, more than 24 hours after Biden’s inauguration had passed, Elizabeth Robbins sent an email to an employee informing him that an administrative hearing related to his possible expulsion with or without his presence was going on. Was about to increase.
“This is another example of petty vengeance that is still amazing,” Seid said.
Robbins told NBC News that he believed he was following federal rules to remove an employee who allegedly violated the terms of his employment. Had the proceeding proceeded, it would have been difficult for the new management of VOA to reverse because it would have been placed under federal regulations, according to Robbins.
When Robbins was told by the new management that he was being fired, he responded, citing a recently adopted law on the VOA’s rule, Robbins said.
His work email was blocked and he escaped from safety, Robbins said.
The director of the VOA, Reilly, also said that his dismissal was illegal and that he had also exited the building, he said.
Robbins said his removal was “politically motivated” and meant to suppress alleged whistleblower complaints by some VOA employees.
The Biden administration named Kelu Chao, who worked at VOA for nearly 40 years as the executive CEO of the US agency for Global Media, VOA’s parent agency, as a journalist and manager. Brian Koneff, who held senior management positions at the agency and was chairman of US-funded Middle East Broadcasting Networks, was named his deputy.
Chao appointed a controversial Trump to replace Michael Pack, who had been accused by lawmakers and pressured libertarian groups to curtail editorial freedom at the VOA and other outlets. A federal judge recently stopped the pack from making personnel decisions on VOA and other USAGM broadcasters. The pack named Reilly took over as director of the VEA only weeks before with Biden as director.
The pack were asked to leave soon after Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday at noon and he announced his resignation before 2pm EST.