In May 2020 Donald Trump’s acting administrator for USAID, John Barsa, appointed Mark Kevin Lloyd to become the “religious freedom advisor” for USAID.

Factsheet: Mark Kevin Lloyd

Published on 25 Jun 2020

IMPACT: Mark Kevin Lloyd is a longtime Tea Party activist in Virginia who has a long track record of posting anti-Muslim and misogynist statements on social media. In May 2020 Lloyd was appointed the religious freedom adviser for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under the administration of Donald Trump. 

Mark Kevin Lloyd is a longtime Virginia Tea Party activist who claims to be a direct descendant of Patrick Henry, a “founding father” of the U.S. who enslaved Black people. In 2011 Lloyd authored a short e-book titled The Battle for Virginia’s 5th District: How the Ancestral Spirit of Patrick Henry Inspired Me to Join the Tea Party, about the Tea Party’s defeat of a Democratic congressional incumbent in a highly contested U.S. House race in Virginia. In May 2020 Donald Trump’s acting administrator for USAID, John Barsa, appointed Mark Kevin Lloyd to become the “religious freedom advisor” for USAID.

According to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, Mark Kevin Lloyd has a long history of anti-Muslim comments. In 2013, Lloyd published now-deleted Facebook posts saying former U.S. President Barack Obama was “in bed” with the Muslim Brotherhood and mocking people who believe that Islam is a peaceful religion. In May 2015, Lloyd shared an article celebrating the oppression of one million Uighur Muslims in China. The article claimed, “Apparently, China realizes what the West doesn’t. – Bet you never thought you’d read that here – Namely, that Islam is very dangerous.” Lloyd continued, “It’s kind of ironic that the oppressive nation sees what free nations don’t: Islam will turn nasty. It always does. Everywhere the religion/political ideology have been given an inch, they’ve taken a mile. Like a rabid dog, once it gets strong enough, it will bite us.”

After a September 2015 speech by President Barack Obama stating that “violent extremism” is not unique to any one faith, Mark Kevin Lloyd commented,“If you tell a lie often enough the idiots will believe it,” according to captured screenshots of his past social media postings. “ISLAM is violent in it’s [sic] doctrine and practice,” the screenshot stated. A month later, a magazine article on the rise of the Tea Party quoted Lloyd asserting that the United States had accepted so many Muslim refugees that, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, “if you are not a Muslim… it’s dangerous for you.” Lloyd also told the same magazine that “the bad guys” in Iraq had celebrated Barack Obama’s election, and that Obama had turned out to be sympathetic to “the extremist Muslim convictions.”

In February 2015, according to a screenshot archive of Lloyd’s deleted social media posts, Lloyd wrote that “people who keep calling people ‘RACISTS’ for having problems with Islam are MORONS.” Lloyd also shared a link to an article that asserted Obama was “way chummier with Mohammed than Jesus.” The article, from right-wing pundit Doug Giles, posited that “if Achmed had it his way, because of your penchants, beliefs or lack thereof, you’d be subjugated or slaughtered.” Lloyd has also said that “those who understand Islam for what it is are gearing up for the fight,” and once wrote that, “Tonight I went to a presentation about Islam in USA…Facts are frightening, and everyone should be aware of what is going on around us.”

During the 2016 presidential election, an Associated Press (AP) article headlined “Racism and talk of religious war: Trump staff’s online posts,” noted that Mark Kevin Lloyd was paid $36,000 as Donald Trump’s field director in Virginia during the 2016 presidential race. The AP article also reported that Lloyd shared a social media post in June 2016 in which he calls Islam “a barbaric cult,” and in an anti-Muslim meme four days after the Orlando nightclub shooting, said that people should be forced to eat bacon before they can purchase firearms in America. During that same 2016 presidential election, Lloyd also claimed that Barack Obama was aiding the Iranian nuclear program as part of the president’s “‘final solution’ to the Israel problem,” a phrase evoking the Holocaust.

Mark Kevin Lloyd also has a long history of misogynistic social media posts. While serving as campaign manager for a Republican senate candidate in Virginia, Lloyd posted derogatory posts calling prominent women “bitches” on Facebook—including Hillary Clinton and Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett—and on another post called Kim Kardashian “a no talent plastic slut with a well rounded butt.”

In May 2020, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) publicly condemned Mark Kevin Lloyd’s hiring by USAID. “No one with a history of spewing hatred and bigotry has any place helping to lead one of our government agencies,” Congressman Engel told the Washington Post. “It’s especially outrageous that someone with a track record of Islamophobia would be put in a role dealing with religious freedom.”

Updated June 25, 2020