The Department of Homeland Security’s head of outreach to religious and community organizations resigned on Thursday after audio recordings revealed that he had previously made incendiary remarks about African-Americans and Muslims while speaking on radio shows.
In a 2008 clip, the Rev. Jamie Johnson, who was appointed by the Trump administration to lead the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, told radio listeners that the black community had “turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity.” He also said black people were anti-Semitic because they were jealous of Jewish people, according to audio posted by CNN.
A Homeland Security official confirmed Mr. Johnson’s resignation after CNN published the audio on Thursday. John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, had appointed Mr. Johnson to the department in April during his brief tenure as secretary of Homeland Security.
“His comments made prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security clearly do not reflect the values of D.H.S. and the administration,” Tyler Q. Houlton, the department’s acting press secretary, said in a statement. “The department thanks him for his recent work assisting disaster victims and the interfaith community.”
In additional audio clips individually recorded between 2011 and 2016, Mr. Johnson attacked Islam, saying on the “Mickelson in the Morning” radio show and other programs that “Muslims want to cut our heads off,” that Islam is “an ideology posing as a religion” and that President George W. Bush made a mistake by calling it a religion of peace.
In another audio clip, Mr. Johnson also said he agreed with the conservative author Dinesh D’Souza that “all that Islam has ever given us is oil and dead bodies over the last millennia and a half.”
As the director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which was created in 2006 after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, Mr. Johnson went to disaster areas to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency with faith-based outreach. He also represented the department and FEMA in regular speeches at conferences, churches, schools and civic groups, according to his biography on the department website.
Before his appointment to the department, Mr. Johnson worked in ministry, teaching, broadcasting and consulting, according to his biography.
On his department Twitter handle, Mr. Johnson regularly shared Bible verses, and he celebrated Mr. Kelly’s appointment to the White House and the nomination of Mr. Kelly’s likely successor, Kirstjen Nielsen.
“The DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is driven by one simple, enduring, inspirational principle,” Mr. Johnson wrote on his account’s inaugural post eight months ago. “LOVE THY NEIGHBOR.”
SOURCE: The New York Times – Emily Cochrane