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John Podesta, who just joined the White House as an adviser to President Barack Obama, is already drawing the ire of Republicans. He was quoted in an interview as comparing House Republicans to Jim Jones' followers.
Jones infamously murdered five people, including a Congressman, before a mass suicide in 1978. In an interview with Politico earlier this year and just published this week, Podesta suggested that the Obama administration had to focus on the duties of the executive branch, “given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress.”
Politico reports that House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, quickly issued a statement slamming Podesta’s comparison. “For those who’ve forgotten, a Democratic member of Congress was murdered in Jonestown and a current one, Rep. Jackie Speier, was shot five times during the same incident,” Buck said. “If this is the attitude of the new White House, it’s hard to see how the president gets anything done again.”
Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise told NOLA.com that Podesta should be fired.
According to ABC News, Podesta has apologized for his comments, tweeting, “I apologize to Speaker Boehner, whom I have always respected.”
In an old interview, my snark got in front of my judgment. I apologize to Speaker Boehner, whom I have always respected.
— John Podesta (@johnpodesta) December 18, 2013
Podesta was the chair of the Center for American Progress and worked for President Bill Clinton as Chief of Staff.