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Pennsylvania Senate candidate David McCormick takes fire for corporate history on transgender activism

David McCormick, who served as CEO of Bridgewater Associates from 2020-2022, has staked out conservative positions in the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race, but conservatives have raised concerns about his corporate record due to his firm’s advocacy on transgender issues – from covering transgender surgery for employees to hosting a transgender activist and promoting an employee who identifies as transgender.

“The extreme left is attacking American history, culture, and values,” McCormick’s website states. The candidate pledges that he “will stand up against the wokeness taking over our schools, big businesses, and the media, and he will fight to ensure every child can live the American Dream too.”

McCormick campaign spokesperson Jess Szymanski laid out the candidate’s position on transgender issues in comments to Fox News Digital.

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“Dave does not support federal taxpayer dollars going towards transgender surgeries,” Szymanski told Fox News Digital. 

When asked about McCormick’s position on transgender identity and medical interventions for minors, the spokesperson aimed to contrast McCormick with Dr. Mehmet Oz, who gave transgender activists and a transgender surgeon a platform on his show before he entered the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race.

“No, as a conservative Dave believes that it is deeply disturbing for liberals like Mehmet Oz to encourage children as young as 8 years old who may be vulnerable and not have the maturity to understand to get transgender surgery and take hormones to block puberty,” Szymanski said. (Dr. Oz’s campaign addressed criticism of Oz’s record in previous comments to Fox News Digital, but it did not explain his stance on medical interventions for children who suffer from gender dysphoria.)

When Fox News Digital asked if McCormick supports male-to-female transgender people competing in sports, Szymanski flatly said, “No.”

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Yet McCormick’s stance against transgender activism and his pledge to oppose “wokeness” seem to clash with his record as CEO at Bridgewater. During his tenure, Bridgewater offered employees “fully paid coverage for gender transitions” as part of an initiative to support “underrepresented groups.” 

The firm promoted Glennda Tostone, a self-described “uber-queer” LGBT activist, to speak on gender identity, claiming that gender is on a spectrum and gender identification is not “fixed over the course of a person’s life.”

David McCormick, the former CEO of a giant hedge fund, declared his candidacy for Senate on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, formally joining a crowded field of Republican contenders vying for the GOP nomination in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania.

In June 2021, Bridgewater invited Senior Software Engineer Lucas Morales, who identified himself as “queer,” to speak about gender identity as part of the firm’s “BPROUD” affinity group that “connects and empowers LGBTQ+ employees and their allies to be authentic and inclusive leaders.”

McCormick also signed on to an amicus brief arguing for the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2013, two years before the Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

When asked about the candidate’s corporate record, Szymanski suggested that McCormick’s experience as a CEO inspired him to fight “wokeness.”

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“Dave has seen first-hand how wokeness and cancel culture in our schools, the military, and business community are turning our country into one we don’t recognize,” she said. “He is running for U.S. Senate to push back on that wokeness and restore the American dream he’s been fortunate enough to live.” She did not comment on whether McCormick personally opposed the “wokeness” in his company or restrained it in any way.

Szymanski then pivoted to target Dr. Oz once again.

“Dr. Oz championed gender-changing surgeries for children as young as eight years old,” she said. “He should answer whether he believes this practice is safe and in the best interest of vulnerable children who may not yet have the maturity to understand.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz (R), Professor of Surgery, Columbia University speaks onstage during the 2021 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 2 at Sheraton New York on September 21, 2021, in New York City.

McCormick, a West Point graduate who served for five years and was deployed to Iraq, currently leads the U.S. Senate Republican primary in Pennsylvania, just ahead of Dr. Oz. He served as undersecretary to the Treasury under President George W. Bush.

Conservative advocates raised concerns regarding McCormick’s record.

“As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words,” Michael Geer, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, told Fox News Digital. “A look at the record of the company led by PA US Senate hopeful David McCormick appears to show an aggressive embrace of the woke agenda, including promotion of transgender ideology and anti-equality ‘DEI’ initiatives.”

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“McCormick also personally advocated to get the US Supreme Court to overturn our duly enacted Pennsylvania state marriage laws by filing an amicus brief in the Obergefell case,” Geer added. “Pennsylvania parents are wondering how that leadership squares with McCormick’s campaign commercials pledging to fight ‘wokeness.’ The words and the record don’t seem to line up.” 

“Given this, concerned Pennsylvania will want to know what he plans to do on these key issues if elected,” he concluded.

“Woke corporate America has at this point largely embraced transgenderism, so it’s sadly unsurprising to see that Bridgewater was no exception,” Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, told Fox News Digital. “However, Republican voters expect their leaders to emphatically reject this dangerous ideology.”

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“We are encouraged that David McCormick has stated his opposition to biological males competing in women’s sports and to allowing minors to undergo sex changes,” Schilling added. “These issues are among the top priorities for pro-family voters, and we applaud McCormick for taking a clear stand on them.”

“To alleviate any lingering potential concerns, we would also encourage him to sign our Big Family Pledge and assure families he will be a reliable ally for them in Washington,” Schilling concluded.

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