A senior official at the Veterans Affairs Department hung a painting of the first Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and Confederate general in his office but removed it after some employees circulated a petition to force him to take it down.
David Thomas, a deputy director in the VA office that verifies small businesses for government contracts, never directly received complaints from his coworkers about the painting, a spokesman for the federal agency said Wednesday.
The portrait depicts Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate Army general turned inaugural KKK leader, posing on the back of a horse. The words “No Surrender” and the date 1862 are written on a title card below the painting.
ABC News confirmed the report and obtained photos of Thomas’ office while the portrait was still hanging. The person who took the photos does not want to be identified because of fear of retaliation.
Doug Massey, president of AFGE’s Local 17, said Thomas has been at the center of other racial discrimination complaints. At least three African American employees have pending cases alleging misconduct in Thomas’ office, and he is accused of discrimination and retaliation by at least two senior employees, according to court filings. The VA said it does not comment on personnel issues without that person’s consent.
One of those accusers is retired Air Force Colonel Michelle Gardner-Ince. She told ABC News that Thomas mentioned to her that his wife didn’t like the portrait but that he kept it anyway.
At the time, Gardner-Ince said she didn’t know Forrest was the man in the picture and didn’t ask Thomas about it. But she was appalled after learning more about it from the VA employees who started the petition.
“It is an environment of fear,” Gardner said. “With the behavior and fear that’s prevalent in the office, [the painting] also serves as intimidation.”
Evidently, this idiot is a civil service employee but obviously having a fascist as president creates a culture of right-wing violence or maybe it was the reanimated corpse of Leon Czolgosz who sent those bombs.