Rev. Jamie Johnson, director of the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), resigned Thursday night following reports revealing that he is a racist.
Johnson made numerous disparaging comments targeting the Black community and the Islam faith on radio appearances from 2008 to as recently as 2016, according to a CNN report. The network posted audio clips from Johnson’s various radio shows.
Johnson once said Black people were anti-Semitic because they are jealous of the success of Jewish people.
He made the following comments during a 2008 interview:
“I think one of the reasons why is because Jewish people, from their coming to America in great waves in the early part of the 1800s, immediately rolled up their sleeves and began to work so hard and applied themselves to education and other means of improvement and other means of climbing the, I hate this phrase, but the social ladder if you will,” Johnson said. “And they have done exceptionally well for themselves.
“For only representing about 1.4 percent of America’s population, they make up 12 percent of America’s millionaires. Why? Because they work.
“And it’s an indictment of America’s Black community that has turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity.”
It’s rather ironic that Johnson would lead a “faith-based” department. In a separate radio appearance filling in as host on an Iowa radio program, he said Muslim terrorist groups reflect the real meaning of Islam.
“I never call it radical Islam, if anything, it is obedient Islam,” he said. “It is faithful Islam.”
He added, “And what the media, and sadly too many people in our camp, the Republican Party, want to refer to as militant or radical Islam, they’re simply being obedient, aren’t they?”
Johnson also stated, “all that Islam has ever given us is oil and dead bodies over the last millennia and a half.”
He said in 2011, “Muslims want to cut our heads off.”
In 2016, Johnson criticized former President George W. Bush for calling Islam a religion of peace.
“I always believe that in the days following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and also on the Pentagon that George W. Bush made a critical mistake that we are still in a sense paying for.
“He began to say a phrase that no one had ever said before in popular political culture, which is that Islam is a religion of peace.”
According to CNN, “Prior to joining the department, Johnson was a fixture in grassroots Republican politics in Iowa, serving as a GOP state committeeman and working for Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Donald Trump in the state. He also frequently appeared on the radio airwaves as a guest and as a host of his own weekend program and guest host for other conservative talk radio hosts.”
In April, Johnson was appointed to his “faith-based” position in President Donald Trump’s administration by then-DHS Secretary John Kelly. Now, as the White House chief of staff, Kelly said last month “lack of ability to compromise” led to the Civil War. He said, “I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man,” and “men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”
Kelly has also refused to apologize to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) for sharing a false story about her, as he attempted to defend Trump amid controversy surrounding his phone call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson.
The Hill first reported Johnson’s resignation Thursday night with a statement from acting DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton. The agency confirmed that acting Secretary Elaine Duke had accepted Johnson’s resignation and rebuked his past remarks.
“His comments made prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security clearly do not reflect the values of DHS and the administration. The Department thanks him for his recent work assisting disaster victims and the interfaith community,” Houlton said.
However, that statement is an about-face from an initial statement. CBS News reports that earlier Thursday, before Johnson’s resignation, DHS said that he had apologized and he’s a valued proponent of the interfaith community.
“The administration does not support these statements made by Rev. Johnson, some of which were said nearly a decade ago, and for which he has apologized,” the statement read. “We believe Rev. Johnson has proven himself as a valuable supporter and proponent of the interfaith community’s recovery efforts, particularly during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and most recently bringing counseling and support following the tragic shooting at the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.”
Earlier on Thursday, Johnson issued a statement of apology:
“I have and will continue to work with leaders and members of all faiths as we jointly look to strengthen our safety and security as an interfaith community,” he said. “Having witnessed leaders from the entire faith spectrum work to empower their communities I now see things much differently. I regret the manner in which those thoughts were expressed in the past, but can say unequivocally that they do not represent my views personally or professionally.”
But, Johnson’s resignation is now official. His webpage on the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnership’s website has been removed. The center was created in 2006 after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma to “engage a broader cross-section of faith and community-based organizations in all stages of the disaster sequence.”