A pastor who headed the Department of Homeland Security's Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships in the Trump administration has resigned after it emerged that he made questionable remarks about African-Americans and Islam while speaking on the radio in years prior to his appointment.
The Rev. Jamie Johnson, who was appointed to the position in April by then-DHS Secretary John Kelly, has stepped down after CNN reported Thursday about remarks he made in radio appearances from 2008 to 2016.
"Acting Secretary Duke has accepted Rev. Jamie Johnson's resignation as director of the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships at DHS," DHS Press Secretary Tyler Houlton said in a statement shared with CNN later in the day. "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."
According to the initial CNN report, Johnson has in the past accused the black community of turning inner cities into "slums." He has also been highly critical of Islam as a religion, saying that radical Islam is "obedient Islam" or "faithful Islam."
In 2008, when he was hosting "The Right Balance" radio show on the Rhode Island-based Accent Radio Network, Johnson argued that some black people are anti-Semitic because they are jealous 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 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."
Johnson added that the success of Jewish-Americans is "an indictment of America's black community that has turned America's major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity."
During an appearance on the Iowa radio show "Mickelson in the Morning," Johnson also said that "all that Islam has ever given us is oil and dead bodies over the last millennia and a half."
The DHS Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships was launched in 2006 after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
According to the agency, the center exists to "engage a broader cross-section of faith and community-based organizations in all stages of the disaster sequence" and works with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help faith-based communities in the areas of "hazards preparedness; emergency and disaster response and recovery; and human trafficking."
Before his resignation, Johnson issued a public apology shared with CNN.
"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. Having witnessed leaders from the entire faith spectrum work to empower their communities I now see things much differently," Johnson said. "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."
According to his LinkedIn page, Johnson served as the vice president for the nondenominational Christian nonprofit World-Wide Missions from 2005 to 2016 before becoming the Iowa coalitions director for President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.