The Obama White House is blaming inadequate vetting for the misguided appointment of environmental adviser Van Jones. But while the White House undoubtedly missed some of Jones’ repugnant statements, it would be hard to imagine hiring anyone who has been in public life without knowing his reputation.
Moreover, Jones’ statements are tame compared with those of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., whom Obama considered a mentor for 20 years.
Jones, who became an adviser to the White House Council on Environmental Quality in March, resigned late Saturday after generating mounting criticism during the past week. Known by the unofficial title of Green Jobs Czar, he issued apologies for calling Republicans a**holes during a videotaped address in February and for signing a petition in 2004 supporting the “9/11 truther” movement, which intimates that the Bush administration may have been involved in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
During the 1990s, Jones described himself as a Communist and worked with a group dedicated to Marxist and Leninist philosophies. He has blamed “white polluters and white environmentalists” for “steering poison” to minority communities. In 2005, he drew a distinction between white and black youths involved in shooting incidents by referencing the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
“You’ve never seen a Columbine done by a black child. Never,” Jones said. “They always say, ‘We can’t believe it happened here. We can’t believe it’s these suburban white kids.’ It’s only them!” he said. “Now, a black kid might shoot another black kid. He’s not going to shoot up the whole school.”
On Saturday, Jones’ advocacy on behalf of death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of fatally shooting a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, added to Republican calls for his resignation.
To be appointed to a White House job, candidates are screened by the Secret Service for arrest records and outstanding arrest warrants. The FBI verifies an applicant’s background and checks on whether he has ever been a member of a terrorist group, for example. But none of these reviews addresses political statements, which White House staff should check.
Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest advisers, has acknowledged recruiting Jones. To suggest that Jarrett and others in the White House who recommended him did not know how incendiary Jones’ publicly expressed views were is as disingenuous as Obama’s claim that—despite sitting in his pews for 20 years—he was not aware of Rev. Wright’s views.
Wright, whom Obama described as being like an uncle to him, blamed America and whites for starting the AIDS virus to kill off blacks, training professional killers, importing drugs, and creating a racist society to oppress blacks.
“The government gives them drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, not ‘God Bless America’ — God damn America,” Wright has said.
Saying he “epitomized greatness,” Wright gave an award to Louis Farrakhan Jr. for lifetime achievement.
As outlined in the Newsmax story “Obama Plays the Race Card,” the president showed that he is indeed Wright’s student when he sided with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. against Cambridge, Mass., police officers who were doing their duty as they checked into a report of intruders and encountered an obstreperous Gates.
As portrayed in my book “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect,” Obama is a genuinely decent man who treats Secret Service agents with respect and consideration. But it is naive to suggest that the appointment of Van Jones was a slip-up.
In Jones, the White House got what it wanted. Americans who don’t understand that are in denial about just how radical President Obama really is.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.