Homeland Security official resigns after past comments about blacks, Muslims come to light
By ELI ROSENBERG | The Washington Post | Published: November 16, 2017
A Republican appointee in charge of a Department of Homeland Security center for outreach to faith and community groups has resigned after a report that he said black people had "turned America's major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity."
Rev. Jamie Johnson, the head of the DHS's Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships, made the remarks during appearances on conservative radio shows over the last 10 years, before he was appointed in April by John Kelly, then the head of the department.
His resignation came swiftly after CNN published the comments on Thursday afternoon, along with the audio of the shows it unearthed.
"His comments made prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security clearly do not reflect the values of DHS and the administration," said a Tyler Houlton, the acting press secretary of the DHS in a statement announcing the resignation.
The department had previously distanced itself from the Johnson's statements, saying that it did not support them but that "Rev. Johnson has proven himself as a valuable supporter and proponent of the interfaith community's recovery efforts."
The incendiary comments about blacks came in 2008 on the show "The Right Balance," on Accent Radio Network, CNN reported. An unidentified speaker on the show said that "a lot of blacks are anti-Semitic" and asked Johnson why.
Johnson extolled the economic successes of American Jews and said "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," according to a recording posted by CNN.
As a guest host on the AM radio program "Mickelson in the Morning," in Iowa, Johnson also spoke harshly of Muslims, saying radical Islam was "faithful Islam."
"I never call it radical Islam, if anything, it is obedient Islam. It is faithful Islam." Johnson said, according to audio posted by CNN.
He later 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."
In a statement given to CNN before his resignation, Johnson said he regretted the remarks and said they do not represent his personal or professional viewpoint.
"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," Johnson said. "Having witnessed leaders from the entire faith spectrum work to empower their communities I now see things much differently."
The DHS's Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships was created in 2006 after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma to help religious and community organizations respond to emergencies and natural disasters. Its mission is also to "help combat human trafficking and the exploitation of the poor and vulnerable," according to its website.
According to his biography on the site, Johnson regularly visited disaster areas to help these efforts, and represented the department and FEMA in regular speeches at conferences, churches, schools and civic groups across the country.
The bio notes that Johnson has worked as a minister and in teaching, consulting and broadcasting. According to CNN, Johnson worked in Republican politics in Iowa for years, working for presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Donald Trump in the state. He was a regular guest on conservative talk radio shows, CNN said.
Kelly, now President Trump's chief of staff, drew harsh criticism last month after he called confederate general Robert E. Lee "an honorable man" and said that "the lack of an ability to compromise" led to the Civil War.