Jamie Johnson. — illustration by Jordan Sellergren
Jamie Johnson, a former radio talk show host on WHO in Des Moines, resigned from his senior position in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday, after CNN reported on some of his public comments on African Americans and Muslims.
In a series of radio appearances between 2008 and 2016, Johnson made inflammatory statements such as “America’s black community … has turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity,” and “all that Islam has ever given us is oil and dead bodies over the last millennia and a half.”
In March, President Trump appointed Johnson to head the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at DHS. According to its official description, the center is supposed to “engage a broader cross-section of faith and community-based organizations in all stages of the disaster sequence and provide resources for faith and community leaders to help them prepare for emergency situations.”
Johnson, who is an ordained minister, has long been a significant player in Iowa Republican politics. He has served on the governing board of the state’s Republican Party, and worked on the presidential primary campaigns of Republican candidates Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. In 2016, Johnson was the Iowa Coalitions Director for the Trump campaign.
In a statement provided to CNN, Johnson said, “I now see things much differently … 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.” His statement did not elaborate on when his views of African Americans or Muslims changed.
Johnson’s resignation came just two weeks after Sam Clovis withdrew as a nominee for the top scientific position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Like Johnson, Clovis is a former Iowa talk radio host who worked on the Trump campaign. Also like Johnson, Clovis has a history of making public statements that are widely considered to be racist, and which he has recently tried to distance himself from.