White House environmental adviser Van Jones resigned Saturday after a Republican smear campaign stemming from his past activism.
“On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me,” Jones, special adviser for green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a statement announcing his resignation just after midnight Saturday. “They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.”
He continued: “I have been inundated with calls – from across the political spectrum – urging me to ’stay and fight.’ But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.”Jones issued an apology recently for using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) called on Jones to resign Friday, saying in a statement, “His extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate.”On Saturday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, wrote on his Twitter account, “Van Jones has to go.”
Van Jones is a well respect leader among environmentalists and was responsible for for the “Green Jobs” movement. He was a civil-rights activist in California before turning his focus to environmental and energy issues, and he won wide praise before joining the Obama administration for articulating a broad vision of a green economy Democrats could embrace.
With the Democrats in power, the Republicans are in a position where they believe they need a win, any win, to shore up support for their ailing party. It’s too bad that their win has to be at the hands of not only their own constituents, but the global financial and environmental health systems.