John Fluharty was in the running to become the agency’s assistant secretary of partnership and engagement.
Politico reported Fluharty interviewed for the position on Tuesday. The Washington Blade obtained an email from Fluharty in which he asked Luke Beckmann of the Department of Homeland Security to withdraw his name “from consideration.”
Fluharty sent the email to Luke Beckmann of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday at 11:06 a.m., roughly two hours after Trump announced the ban on twitter.
“As I mentioned during our conversation, I am a strong advocate for diversity, both in the Republican Party and in government,” wrote Fluharty. “The president’s announcement this morning — that he will ban all those who identify as transgender from military service — runs counter to my deeply held beliefs, and it would be impossible for me to commit to serving the administration knowing that I would be working against those values.”
Fluharty was executive director of the Delaware Republican Party from 2002-2015.
Fluharty came out as gay in 2013 during an exclusive interview with the Blade at a fundraiser for Equality Delaware, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, and their efforts to support the extension of marriage rights for same-sex couples in the state. The executive committee of the Sussex County Republican Committee later approved a non-binding resolution that called for his removal over his position on the issue.
Fluharty in a statement to the Blade also criticized the Justice Department for arguing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“The president has squandered an opportunity to strengthen not only our nation’s example to the rest of the world, but he has also squandered his party’s ability to have creditable messengers in the LGBTQ community on issues where there can be agreement such as reform of our public education system, lower taxes, and growing our economy,” he said. “Issues that are important to all families.”
“The ban on allowing transgender heroes to continue to serve in the military, and the actions by the Justice Department the following day, have effectively alienated the Republican Party from our community for a generation,” added Fluharty.