Before he was appointed to the Department of Defense, Todd Johnson shared hateful posts about former President Barack Obama on Facebook, from pushing the birther conspiracy to joking about the then-president dying. This week, those comments cost Johnson his job.
Johnson served on Trump’s campaign team before the president appointed him to the Defense Department. An inquiry from CNN about the posts on social media led to his resignation.
“After CNN initially reached out to the Pentagon for comment, Johnson made his Facebook account private. A spokesperson confirmed Johnson was still working at the Pentagon Tuesday morning, but in the afternoon, after CNN informed the Department of Defense that a story was forthcoming, a Pentagon spokesperson said Johnson had offered his resignation and that it was accepted,” CNN reported.
Screenshots were taken of some of the postings before Johnson changed his privacy settings.
In August 2015 Johnson shared a picture of Air Force One crashed in a rural field accompanied by an anecdote in which Obama dies:
“‘President Obama dead’ the sheriff asked. ‘Well,’ the farmer grumbled, restarting his tractor, ‘He kept a-saying he wasn’t, but you know how bad that sumbitch lies.'”
In 2012 Johnson shared a video titled “Michelle Obama Admits Kenya is Barack Hussein Obama’s Home Country” with the caption “Straight from the horses (sic) mouth!”
“People still don’t believe,” Johnson wrote.
That same year he shared another video associating Obama with the Antichrist. He added, “I post, you decide.”
A friend of Johnson’s commented on a status Johnson posted in 2013 calling Obama a Muslim and saying “[that] automatically makes him crazy.”
“Yes sir,” Johnson responded.
That same year Johnson agreed with another friend’s comment that said, “There is nothing peaceful about the true Muslim religion.”
He also posted what appears to be a photo of a newspaper clipping with a story comparing people who use government assistance programs for food stamps and meals to animals.
“Those who love the entiltement (sic) programs will not get this,” he captioned the photo.
Last week, proposals from the State Department indicated that people seeking entry into the United States will be subject to “extreme vetting,” including sharing their social media histories. Apparently Trump’s employees are not held to the same standard.
Or perhaps it wouldn’t matter anyway, as Trump has been a pusher of the birther movement since before entering politics. An archive of Trump’s tweets cites 85 times in which he has mentioned the birther movement. (In 2012 he chose to tweet about it on the anniversary of Sept. 11 — twice.)
And these tweets only date up to September 2014; he has continued to be vocal about it since then. According to a New York Times report late last year, Trump once again began questioning whether or not Obama was born in the United States.
Also around this time Trump tweeted anti-Islam videos that had originally been posted by a leader of a far-right British party convicted earlier this month of abusing a Muslim woman.
Johnson is not the first Trump appointee to leave his post after such derogatory comments. Carl Higbie, who served as head of external affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service and a spokesman for the Great America PAC, attacked Blacks, LGBTs, veterans suffering from mental illness, Muslims and women in a variety of radio interviews made public by CNN.