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Obama's embattled environment adviser resigns

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-06

US President Barack Obama's special adviser for environment protection, Van Jones, has resigned under pressure from the opposition over past remarks about Republicans and the signing of a controversial petition on the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

AFP - US President Barack Obama's special adviser for green jobs has resigned under pressure from leading Republican politicians and revelations about his controversial past statements, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Van Jones, a former civil rights activist from California, had been working for the White House Council on Environmental Quality since March.

"I am resigning my post at the Council on Environmental Quality, effective today," the newspaper quotes Jones as saying in a statement dated September 5 but released shortly after midnight on September 6.

Jones went on the say that on the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, "opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign" against him, according to the report.

"They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide," he continued. "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 became the focus of public attention last week when it was revealed that he had signed a petition that questioned whether officials in the administration of former president George W. Bush "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war," The Post said.

It was also revealed that Jones used a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration, the newspaper said.

As a result, several prominent Republicans demanded action against Jones. Republican Representative Mike Pence on Friday called on the adviser to resign or be fired, The Post said.

Jones' "extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate," Pence said, according to the report.
 

Date created : 2009-09-06

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