WASHINGTON — A religious organization tied to Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, sought to erase all mentions and photos of her from its website before she meets with lawmakers and faces questions at her Senate confirmation hearings.
Barrett, a federal appeals judge, has declined to publicly discuss her decades-long affiliation with People of Praise, a charismatic Christian group that opposes abortion and holds that men are divinely ordained as the “head” of the family and faith. Former members have said the group’s leaders teach that wives must submit to the will of their husbands. A spokesman for the organization has declined to say whether the judge and her husband, Jesse M. Barrett, are members.
But an analysis by The Associated Press shows that People of Praise erased numerous records from its website during the summer of 2017 that referred to Barrett and included photos of her and her family. At the time, Barrett was on Trump’s short list for the high court seat that eventually went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Last week, when Barrett again emerged as a front-runner for the court, more articles, blog posts and photos disappeared. After an AP reporter emailed the group’s spokesman Wednesday about members of Jesse Barrett’s family, his mother’s name was deleted from the primary contact for the South Bend, Indiana, branch. All issues of the organization’s magazine, “Vine and Branches,” were also removed.
Sean Connolly, People of Praise’s spokesman, confirmed in an email that information was being wiped from the group’s website.
“Recent changes to our website were made in consultation with members and nonmembers from around the country who raised concerns about their and their families’ privacy due to heightened media attention,” Connolly said.
The deletions come at a time when Barrett’s background is under intense scrutiny by
- Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong wrote in a blog post over the weekend that corporate activism was a “distraction” from his company’s mission of increasing global access to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
- Mentioning charged topics like the police killing of Breonna Taylor and the upcoming presidential election, Armstrong implied that employees who wanted their company to be focused on social issues should find work elsewhere.
- Some in the startup and venture capital world were outraged, pointing out that Armstrong tweeted “Black Lives Matter” in June.
- Others cheered Armstrong, like investor Paul Graham.
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The CEO of cryptocurrency broker Coinbase Brian Armstrong stirred outrage and praise from Silicon Valley over the weekend by coming out with a hard line against employee activism at work in a Medium post Sunday.
Mentioning hot-button issues like the police shooting of Breonna Taylor and the upcoming U.S. election, Armstrong said he wanted Coinbase to be “laser focused on achieving its mission.” Coinbase facilitates financial transactions in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, with an aim of spreading access to them across the globe. Armstrong characterized anything else besides that core mission as “a distraction.”
“We’ve seen what internal strife at companies like Google and Facebook can do to productivity,” Armstrong wrote, “and there are many smaller companies who have had their own challenges here. I believe most employees don’t want to work in these divisive environments.”
Armstrong strongly implied that Coinbase employees unhappy with his anti-activism stance would be better off not working there.
“But for some employees, working at an activism focused company may be core to what they want, and we want to prompt that conversation with their manager to help them get to a better place. Life is too short to work somewhere that you aren’t excited about, and