Suspended White House reporter Joe Williams is leaving Politico, he confirmed to TPM Saturday.
Editor in Chief John Harris told staff that discussions with Williams were “cordial” and the decision was mutual. “Joe is an experienced and respected journalist, with keen insights into politics. After nearly 30 years in the business, he has the authority and is ready to give voice to his insights and conclusions in a new setting,” Harris wrote in a memo, posted by Politico’s Dylan Byers.
Politico suspended Williams after he told MSNBC’s Martin Bashir that Mitt Romney feels most comfortable around “white folks.” Williams’s remarks, coupled with some other derogatory tweets directed at Romney, proved enough for suspension.
Williams blamed right-wing sites like Breitbart and The Daily Caller for using his comments to stir up trouble. “They’re in the business of gathering scalps,” Williams said in an interview with Current TV.
Williams will be on a leave of absence during his transition, Harris wrote in the memo. “I have told Joe — and it’s a sentiment others who worked closely with him here share — that he’ll have my support as he prepares for what I expect will be a good and prominent next chapter in his career.”
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com