The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

Alexis de Toqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol Building

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention

The Continental Congress

The Continental Congress

George Washington at Valley Forge

George Washington at Valley Forge

Friday, March 9, 2012

JW Catches Obama White House in a Lie Regarding the Firing of Controversial USDA Employee

From Judicial Watch:

JW Catches Obama White House in a Lie Regarding the Firing of Controversial USDA Employee

Eric Holder, one of the worst Attorney Generals in modern history, called America "a nation of cowards" in"things racial."

The smoking-gun documents we unearthed on the racial controversy surrounding the firing by the Obama administration of a black federal employee suggest that Holder should redirect his smear to a more deserving target - the Obama White House. 

According to evidence recently uncovered by Judicial Watch, the Obama White House has some more explaining to do regarding its role in the controversial firing of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employee Shirley Sherrod. The White House said it had nothing to do with the decision. The documentary evidence we obtained says otherwise.

This story broke quite awhile ago.  (In fact, it took nearly 18 months to extract these records.)  So let me back up and remind you what this is all about.

On July 19, 2010, the Obama administration forced USDA employee Shirley Sherrod, who is an African-American, to resign from her job after a video was posted online showing Sherrod making what were thought to be racist statements during a speech at an NAACP meeting on March 27, 2010. 

In this controversial video of the speech, first disclosed by the late Andrew Breitbart, Sherrod described her reluctance to help a white farmer save his land. Later in the video, however, Sherrod said she went on to work with the farmer and his wife over a two-year period to help prevent foreclosure on his farm.

The White House and the USDA reacted immediately to the video to quell what they assumed would be a furor over Sherrod's controversial remarks. As reported by CNN, according to Sherrod, Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development for the USDA Cheryl Cook called her three times, stressing that theWhite House wanted her to resign.

After the fallout from Sherrod's firing, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs issued a clear denial that the White House played any role in the decision. According to Politico:

"This was, as you heard Secretary Vilsack say yesterday, a decision that was made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who refused even to say which senior Obama aides have been involved in the process.

"The president was briefed yesterday and has been briefed, obviously, today as well," added Gibbs, who said the White House was informed but not "consulted" about the firing.

However, new emails extracted from the Obama administration not only suggest the White House approved of the decision to fire Sherrod on July 19, 2010, they show White House officials helped craft and approved the language used by the Secretary of Agriculture in announcing acceptance of Sherrod's forced resignation!

We got the records pursuant to an August 2, 2010, Freedom of Information Act request.  They consist of internal emails between USDA employees and White House staff members in devising a public response to a rapidly growing controversy over the firing of Sherrod, who served as the USDA's Georgia State Director of Rural Development.  

These emails reveal that the Obama White House was in on this action from the get-go. For example:

  • When informed on July 19, 2010, about Sherrod's statements at the NAACP meeting, White House spokesperson Reid Cherlin emailed USDA Director of Communications Chris Mather "has she been fired?"
  • Former Special Assistant to the President and White House Cabinet Communications Director Tom Gavin oversaw the writing and obtained counsel approval of the announcement by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on July 19, 2010, in which Vilsack stated, "Today, I accepted Ms. Sherrod's resignation.  There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person."  In approving the copy, Gavin indicated in a July 19, 2010, email "We are good with this version on this end."
  • In an effort to emphasize what Vilsack needed to say to the press, Gavin emailed to Mather on July 19, 2010, "Just to be clear, this is the Secretary's quote, right?"  Mather responded, "I think it should be, don't you," to which Gavin replied, "absolutely."
  • As events unfolded on July 19, 2010, Mather emailed Gavin at the White House, "Did you connect with the NAACP?"  Gavin responded, "OPE [Office of Public Engagement] did. We'll be fine."

The Obama White House would rather we just accept their explanations, but facts can be pesky things.  The documents show that White House officials played a key role in the decision to force Sherrod's resignation and then misled the American people about that role.

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