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The White House fired the Trump-appointed General Counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Friday evening, following her refusal to step down.
In a definite letter Friday morning to President Biden, Sharon Gustafson said she “respectfully” declined the White House’s request for her resignation, noting she had only served half of her four-year term.
“I intend to honor that commitment,” she wrote in a letter released by the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “I have confidently given this advice to countless embattled clients over the last 25 years: hold your head high, do your best work, and do not resign under pressure. I stand in solidarity with them, I will follow that advice,” she added.
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Gustafson was informed less than three hours later by the Deputy Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office, Gautam Raghavan, in an email that her employment would be “terminated” effective by 5 p.m. Friday evening.
Gustafson, the first woman to serve as General Counsel to the EEOC, noted that her removal was highly irregular and that never before has a General Counsel been removed for “being appointed by the wrong political party.”
In her letter to Biden, she accused the administration of suppressing her work on religious discrimination by removing press releases, reports and podcasts from the EEOC website following his inauguration.
“I can only assume that my resignation would be followed by similar suppression of our work promoting religious freedom,” Gustafson wrote.
Republicans condemned the move as a political attack and pointed to Biden’s campaign pledge to end the partisan fighting in Washington.
“This is a pattern. President Biden calls for the end to ‘partisan warfare,’ only to turn around and demand that Senate-confirmed officials resign so he can make room for his left-wing friends,” North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx said in a statement.
“President Biden should take a note from General Counsel Gustafson, who stuck to her commitment and refused to cave to partisan pressure. This unprecedented firing of an honorable public official which occurred just hours after she was asked to resign is unwarranted and should be immediately rescinded,” Foxx said.
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Gustafson faced scrutiny for remarks she made regarding the LBGTQ community following her 2018 appointment. She was confirmed by the Senate in August 2019.
The EEOC did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
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