Marc Short, the White House’s legislative affairs director, recently told NBC News, “I think the president believes it is his role to improve race relations.” If so, Donald Trump and his team have quite a bit of work to do.
The Washington Post reported late yesterday, for example:
A political appointee in the Department of Homeland Security abruptly resigned after the disclosure Thursday he previously made derogatory remarks about black people and Muslims on conservative talk radio.
Rev. Jamie Johnson, who was appointed the head of the DHS’s Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships in April, appeared on the program in 2008. The comments resurfaced Thursday after CNN published a report about them with audio snippets.
And what a report it was. Johnson, who was appointed to lead the DHS’s outreach office by John Kelly, now the White House chief of staff, established quite a record of ugly rhetoric towards minority groups.
CNN’s piece highlighted one particularly striking instance in which Johnson explained his belief that black people were anti-Semitic out of jealousy of the success of Jewish people.
“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 1800’s 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% of America’s population, they make up 12% 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.”
Remember, the Trump administration put this guy in charge of the DHS’s “neighborhood partnerships.”
What’s more, Johnson’s inflammatory rhetoric wasn’t limited to African Americans. “I agree with (conservative political commentator) Dinesh D’Souza, your friend and mine, who says all that Islam has ever given us is oil and dead bodies over the last millennia and a half,” he said in a different on-air appearance.
Johnson later said, Islam was an “ideology posing that is as a religion.”
This is obviously offensive rhetoric for anyone to use, but it’s especially outrageous for an official who was tasked with leading the Department of Homeland Security’s “faith-based” outreach.
Earlier this year, Johnson’s office said via Twitter his DHS office was “driven by one simple, enduring, inspirational principle: LOVE THY NEIGHBOR.”
If his rhetorical record is any indication, it apparently matters what your neighbor’s race and religion are.