Victoria Coates, who was hired as the president of the government-funded Middle East Broadcasting Networks in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency, has been fired by the Biden administration, she told POLITICO.
Her deputy at the network, senior vice president Rob Greenway, got a call on Friday from his colleague Kelley Sullivan telling him that she had been notified in an email that she was acting head of MBN effective immediately and that his employment was terminated. U.S. Agency for Global Media is MBN’s parent organization.
Coates, who was deputy national security adviser for the Trump White House, said she had received no notification that she was fired, but her email was cut off shortly thereafter.
“This is a shocking repudiation of President Biden’s call for unity and reconciliation just two days ago—and a clear violation of MBN’s grant and my employment contracts,” she said in a statement. A spokesperson for the White House did not immediately have a comment and USAGM also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Coates urged the new administration to “do the right thing and not play politics with this important institution, which is generously funded by American taxpayers.”
Her contract with USAGM specified that her term would be for a minimum of two years and she could only be removed for being convicted of a felony, Coates said. Her lawyer sent a letter to USAGM’s counsel on Thursday warning against firing her.
It’s been a tumultuous year for Coates. After she was falsely accused of being Anonymous — who turned out to be former DHS official Miles Taylor — she left the White House to be a senior adviser at the Department of Energy before in December being named president of MBN, which operates the Arabic satellite TV channel Alhurra and Radio Sawa.
The relaunch of Radio Sawa Wednesday night was followed by an outage Thursday morning when the network went off the air. Sullivan most recently was one of the vice presidents of MBN and the acting president from June until Coates arrived.
She is the fifth official associated with USAGM who has either been fired by the Biden administration or resigned this week. Controversial USAGM CEO Michael Pack, who stood accused of politicizing the ostensibly independent global broadcasting agency in keeping with Trump’s demands, resigned on Wednesday after being told that he would be removed. The deputies Pack had installed also departed: Top Voice of America leaders Robert Reilly and Elizabeth Robbins were also let go, while Jeffrey Shapiro resigned from his job as director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.