WASHINGTON (JTA) — A foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump allegedly boasted about firing Jews from his government department and denied the Holocaust to a colleague.
Joseph Schmitz denies the allegations against him, which concern comments accusers say he made while he was the Defense Department’s Inspector General, the McClatchy news agency reported on Thursday. He called them “completely false and defamatory.”
Schmitz was the Pentagon’s inspector general from 2002-2005, and is one of five foreign policy advisers the Trump campaign announced in March. He says he helped write one of the Republican presidential nominee’s foreign policy speeches. Schmitz told the news agency that his wife’s maternal grandmother was Jewish.
The alleged comments are cited in a grievance by Danny Meyer, about discrimination he says he suffered as a gay man while he worked for successive inspectors general.
Meyer in his complaint quotes John Crane, a former assistant Defense Department Inspector General, as saying that Schmitz made the remarks. In one case, Crane alleged Schmitz said “I fired the Jews.” In another, he “allegedly lectured Mr. Crane on the details of concentration camps and how the ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews,” Meyer wrote.
Crane, who resigned in 2013 after learning he was set to be fired, also has filed a grievance. According to McClatchy, the allegations against Schmitz are also cited in a letter to the current Defense Department inspector general by a lawyer for David Tenenbaum, an army engineer vindicated after suffering for years under a cloud of allegations that he spied for Israel. Tenenbaum wants the office to inspect an anti-Semitic environment at the Pentagon.
Schmitz’s father is the late Republican politician John Schmitz, notorious for his description in 1981 of a pro-reproductive rights panel that testified to the California senate as “a sea of hard, Jewish and (arguably) female faces.”
When he died in 2001, the elder Schmitz, a onetime stalwart of the far-right wing John Birch Society, was eulogized by the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust denial group, as a “good friend” of the group. According to IHR, he intervened when the group was unable to find a venue for its conference in southern California after hotels received complaints.