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Carl Higbie
Born Carlton Milo Higbie IV
April 23, 1983(1983-04-23) (age 37)
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
Citizenship United States
Education Greenwich High School
Occupation Writer, political activist
Known for
  • Ran for Connecticut’s 4th District in the House of Representatives in 2014
Political party Republican
Board member of Great America PAC, spokesman
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 2005–2012
Rank USN PO1 collar device Petty Officer First Class
Unit United States Navy Special Warfare insignia Navy SEALs
Battles/wars Operation Iraqi Freedom
Carl Higbie
Years active 2012-Present

Carlton Milo Higbie IV (born April 23, 1983) is an American pro-Donald Trump political operative. He was director of advocacy for America First Policies,[1] a group that promotes Donald Trump's policy agenda.[2] In August 2017, Higbie was selected to serve as the chief of external affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service, but resigned in January 2018 after racist, sexist, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT comments and comments about fellow veterans with PTSD came to light.[3][4] Before that he served as a spokesperson for Great America PAC, which supported Trump's presidential candidacy and assisted his transition info office, and he also became known for promoting the false birther conspiracy theory about Barack Obama.

He is a former Navy SEAL. He served two tours of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, reaching the rate of Special Warfare Operator, First Class. He has written two books about his experiences, and has regularly appeared as a commentator on Fox News and CNN.

Early lifeEdit

Higbie was born on April 23, 1983, in Greenwich, Connecticut.[5] He attended Greenwich High School before going to college at Sacred Heart University, where he dropped out to join the military as troops were being deployed to Iraq.[6]

Military serviceEdit

Higbie enlisted in the United States Navy and became a SEAL in 2005,[7] ultimately reaching the rank of Petty Officer First Class (E-6 grade) with a rating of Special Warfare Operator, First Class.[8] He was twice deployed to Iraq to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom,[7] once each under Presidents Bush and Obama.

Higbie is the author a self-published book titled Battle on the Home Front: A Navy SEAL's Mission to Save the American Dream in 2012,[9] after which his security clearance was downgraded from "top secret".[8] He signed out of the SEALs before the end of his term of duty with an honorable discharge. Some two months later, the Navy downgraded his discharge to "general".[8] A second book, Enemies, Foreign and Domestic: A SEAL's Story, was published by Post Hill Press in 2016.[10]

Congressional campaignEdit

In 2014, Higbie announced that he was running to be the Republican Party nominee to challenge Democrat Jim Himes in Connecticut's 4th congressional district, declaring himself to not be "bound by the same conformist rules that most Republicans are bound by."[6] At the time, Higbie was working as a personal trainer at Equinox in Greenwich, CT.[11] The other Republican candidates were former State Senator Dan Debicella[12] and State Representative John Shaban.[13] Higbie described himself as a social conservative with "moral oppositions to abortions and same-sex marriage, but my legislative position is live and let live," and stated that he would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.[6] On economic issues, Higbie supported "a balanced budget amendment and an across-the-board personal income tax rate of 10 percent, with a maximum annual deduction of $50,000," and he favored eliminating corporate taxes to attract overseas businesses.[6] Higbie had difficulty with fund raising during his candidacy, and sought to force a primary election if he were not endorsed as the candidate.[14] Debicella won the nomination with support from 195 of the 210 delegates,[15] and contested the election against Himes, who won with 53.7% of the vote.[16]

Great America PACEdit

Higbie is a spokesman for Great America PAC, an independent-expenditure only political action committee (Super PAC) which advocates for Donald Trump. In this capacity, he has acted as a Trump surrogate,[17] appearing on news networks including Fox News and CNN. Higbie has discussed a variety of topics including the war in Iraq,[18] the composition of the Trump transition team,[19] the controversy relating to Khizr Khan's appearance at the Democratic National Convention,[20] the proposal for a registry of Muslim immigrants,[21] and the National Policy Institute conference.[22]

Higbie has become known for making comments that were perceived as racist and has stated that he "just don’t like Muslim people". He has also pushed the false birther conspiracy about Barack Obama.[23][24]


In a CNN interview with retired-Major General Paul Eaton and Chris Cuomo, Higbie was critical of the use of air power and drone strikes by the Obama administration and argued in support of Trump's promise to address problems in Iraq with "boots on the ground."[18] He was also critical of Eaton, who was the U.S. Army Chief of Infantry and then the Commanding General of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team in Iraq (2003–2004),[25] stating that the leadership "[Eaton's] articulated here today is not conducive to winning a war."[18]

Trump transition teamEdit

During the transition following the 2016 presidential election, Higbie defended Steve Bannon from accusations of anti-Semitism, misogyny, and racism.[19] Of Bannon's appointment as chief strategist to President-elect Trump, Higbie said: "Steve Bannon has excelled in every single role he has held dating back to his service in the US Navy. I cannot imagine a better person to be advising an already successful businessman taking on the biggest business in the world, the US Government."[19]

Registry of MuslimsEdit

On the same day as defending Bannon, in an interview with Megyn Kelly of Fox News,[19] Higbie cited the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the associated Supreme Court decision in Korematsu v. United States as providing legal justification for Trump's campaign promise of a registry for Muslim Americans.[26] Higbie repeated his comments on CNN to Erin Burnett the following day.[17] Kelly replied that Higbie "knows better" than to make such suggestions as they scare people.[27] Kelly met Higbie's further assertion that he was only noting "there was precedent for it" with the declaration: "You can't be citing Japanese internment camps for anything the President-elect is going to do."[27] Trump's transition team later issued a statement to the Huffington Post that denied that Trump supported a Muslim registry,[28] though he had made comments supporting such an idea in 2015.[29][30]

George Takei, who was detained in one of the World War II internment camps, described Higbie's comments as "dangerous"[31] and went on to say that "[r]egistration of any group of people, and certainly registration of Muslims, is a prelude to internment."[28] Higbie's comments attracted media criticism,[21] and Representative Judy Chu (D–CA), the first Chinese American woman elected to the U.S. Congress,[32] declared that "[a]ny proposal to force American Muslims to register with the federal government, and to use Japanese imprisonment during World War II as precedent, is abhorrent and has no place in our society. These ideas are based on tactics of fear, division, and hate that we must condemn."[29] Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein addressed Higbie's suggestion that Korematsu could be used to support a Muslim registry, describing the case as having "joined Dred Scott as an odious and discredited artifact of popular bigotry"[33] even though it has never been overturned.[34] Harvard University's Noah Feldman concurred, declaring that "Korematsu's uniquely bad legal status means it's not precedent even though it hasn't been overturned."[35]

National Policy Institute conferenceEdit

At its conference in Washington, D.C., in November 2016, the white supremacist National Policy Institute celebrated Trump's victory as "the first step towards identity politics in the United States," and the audience responded to the end of Richard Spencer's speech – "Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!" – by standing and making the Nazi salute.[36] Higbie participated in a CNN panel discussion with Angela Rye to discuss the conference, and described the attendees as "morons" and "idiots" who do not represent the Republican Party as a whole.[22] The discussion became heated, with Rye calling the Republicans the "party of oppression" and describing Higbie's knowledge of history as "ass backwards" after Higbie described the Republicans as "the party of Martin Luther King."[22]


  1. "America First Policies Announces Carl Higbie as Director of Advocacy". March 15, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018. 
  2. Bykowicz, Julie (January 30, 2017). "Trump advisers start 'America First Policies' nonprofit". Retrieved May 2, 2018. 
  3. Swanson, Ian (2017-08-21). "Cable news Trump supporter Carl Higbie joins administration". TheHill. 
  4. Kaczynski, Andrew (January 18, 2018). "Trump appointee resigns as public face of agency that runs AmeriCorps after KFile review of racist, sexist, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments on the radio". CNN. 
  5. Bucher, Chris (11 February 2017). "Carl Higbie: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved 19 January 2018. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Vigdor, Neil (January 15, 2014). "Mission Congress for retired Navy SEAL". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Carl Higbie". Carl Higbie. 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Caro, Brandon (December 11, 2013). "Did a Navy SEAL Lose His Honorable Discharge as a Punishment for Exercising his Rights?". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  9. Ingersoll, Geoffrey (September 21, 2012). "There's Another Navy SEAL Book Out That's Going To Make People Furious". Business Insider. 
  10. Higbie, Carl; Caro, Brandon (2016). Enemies, Foreign and Domestic: A SEALS's Story. Post Hill Press. ISBN 9781618688118. 
  11. Vigdor, Neil (January 15, 2014). "Mission Congress for retired Navy SEAL". Connecticut Post. Retrieved March 8, 2019. "works as a personal trainer at Equinox fitness club in Greenwich" 
  12. Vigdor, Neil (September 4, 2013). "Debicella announces 4th District challenge". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  13. Perrefort, Dirk (September 12, 2013). "Shaban to seek GOP 4th CD nomination". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  14. Vigdor, Neil (April 21, 2014). "Himes, Esty hold fundraising advantages". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  15. Vigdor, Neil (May 16, 2014). "Debicella, Greenberg get GOP nod for Congress". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  16. Bycoffe, Aaron; Boice, Jay; Fung, Hilary (2014). "Election 2014 – U.S. House". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Vigdor, Neil (November 17, 2016). "Connecticut Trump surrogate: WWII internment camps set precedent for Muslim registry". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Higbie, Carl; Eaton, Paul (June 3, 2016). Interview with Chris Cuomo. "How Would Trump, Clinton Handle Foreign Policy In Office". New Day (CNN). Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Bobic, Igor (November 17, 2016). "Trump Supporter Cites Japanese Internment As 'Precedent' For Muslim Registry". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  20. Reilly, Genevieve; Vigdor, Neil (August 12, 2016). "Trump to return to Conn. for Fairfield rally". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 Hawkins, Derek (November 17, 2016). "Japanese American internment is 'precedent' for national Muslim registry, prominent Trump backer says". Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
    Bromwich, Jonah Engel (November 17, 2016). "Trump Camp's Talk of Registry and Japanese Internment Raises Muslim Fears". Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Ryan, Josiah (November 22, 2016). "Commentator blasts Trump supporter: 'Your party is now one of oppression'". CNN. Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  23. Kaczynski, Andrew (January 19, 2018). "Trump appointee resigns as public face of agency that runs AmeriCorps after KFile review of racist, sexist, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments on the radio". CNN. Retrieved May 11, 2018. 
  24. Rosenberg, Eli (January 18, 2018). "'I just don't like Muslim people': Trump appointee resigns after racist, sexist and anti-gay remarks". Retrieved May 16, 2018. 
  25. "Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Paul Eaton". 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
    "Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, USA (Ret.) – Senior Advisor". National Security Network. 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  26. Railton, Ben (November 17, 2016). "The Real Precedents Set By Japanese American Internment". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 Abadi, Mark (November 17, 2016). "Megyn Kelly shut down a Trump supporter who said Japanese internment camps were precedent for a Muslim registry". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Dicker, Ron (November 19, 2016). "George Takei Blasts Muslim Registry As 'Prelude To Internment'". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 Chow, Kat (November 17, 2016). "Renewed Support For Muslim Registry Called 'Abhorrent'". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  30. Lucey, Catherine; Colvin, Jill (November 19, 2015). "Trump says he would 'absolutely' implement a database to track Muslims". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
    Gabriel, Trip (November 20, 2015). "Donald Trump Says He'd 'Absolutely' Require Muslims to Register". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  31. Herreria, Carla (November 17, 2016). "Remember When George Takei Said He Loves A 'Country That Once Betrayed Me'?". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  32. Merl, Jean (July 14, 2009). "Judy Chu trounces rivals in congressional race". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  33. Fein, Bruce (November 25, 2016). "History Overrules Odious Supreme Court Precedent". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  34. Ford, Matt (November 19, 2015). "The Return of Korematsu". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  35. Feldman, Noah (November 18, 2016). "Why Korematsu Is Not a Precedent". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  36. Glueck, Katie (November 19, 2016). "Alt-right celebrates Trump's election at D.C. meeting". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
    Goldstein, Joseph (November 21, 2016). "Alt-Right Exults in Donald Trump's Election With a Salute: 'Heil Victory'". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
    Lombroso, Daniel; Appelbaum, Yoni (November 21, 2016). "'Hail Trump!': Video of White Nationalists Cheering the President-Elect". Retrieved November 27, 2016. 

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