A top Veterans Affairs official was told not to condemn white nationalists after Charlottesville, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. 

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, Georgia Coffey — an expert in workplace diversity — had encouraged the VA to issue a statement making it clear the VA stood against the “repugnant display of hate and bigotry by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan.”

However,  John Ullyot, the VA’s chief communications official, reportedly told her to stand down.

According to WaPo:

A statement from VA leaders was necessary, Coffey wrote in one email to Ullyot, because the agency’s workforce was unsettled by the uproar caused by the Charlottesville violence. Minorities make up more than 40 percent of VA’s 380,000 employees, the federal government’s second-largest agency.

Ullyot told Coffey to stand down, the emails show. A person familiar with their dispute, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Post that Ullyot was enforcing a directive from the White House, where officials were scrambling to contain the fallout from Trump’s comments, and they did not want government officials to call further attention to the controversy.

Coffey has since left the agency. Ullyot remains.

According to WaPo, a VA spox denies that they received a directive from the White House on the matter.