You’ve heard of the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID. In fact, it’s possible that the acronym gave you a misleading impression of the mission of the organization — it certainly looks like a humanitarian agency that perhaps distributes assistance to natural disaster victims or refugees of political violence.
What USAID actually does is administer the foreign assistance set aside by an annually-renewed Act of Congress — the Foreign Assistance Act, in fact — in the ways it determines will most help countries around the world in regard to long-term socioeconomic development.
In short, USAID helps poorer places make their countries better to live in, and since JFK established it by executive order 58 years ago this month, it’s done so as an independent agency, largely able to make internal determinations as to where the money could best be used.
Until Mike Pence came along.
If you think you know what type of religious zealot the Vice President is, but you don’t think he’d be willing to starve non-Christian countries in order to favor Christian ones, well… You just haven’t been paying attention. Pence has demonstrated that he would mentally and emotionally torture children in the name of Christ, so if you think he wasn’t going to reach into the coffers of USAID and make sure no unwashed unbelievers got a penny of assistance from the United States of AmeriGod, you’ve got another think coming.
And a new report from transparency organization ProPublica says he did exactly that. Not only did he, according to the report, re-route money that USAID had pegged for certain areas in Iraq and Syria (among other locations) to smaller Christian-dominated regions — regions that weren’t even on the very long list of places under consideration — but he also sought to punish those inside the agency who hadn’t determined the money be set aside for Christian regions to begin with.
Numerous agents lost their jobs over disbursements that Pence thought should go to areas that share his own faith. Decisions that were once made by people trained into the job at USAID through decades of experience were handed over to unelected political appointees whose only training came from Pence himself: Make sure the money goes to Christians.
This is, of course, only one small aspect of the multifaceted repair job that Democrats will have to undertake once they regain control of the Executive Branch. But it is a fascinating look at what Pence sees as his role in government even when Donald Trump isn’t looking.
Featured image via screen capture
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