An incoming senior adviser to President Barack Obama found himself in hot water on Wednesday after the publication of old comments in which he compared House Republicans to the Jonestown cult.
John Podesta, the chair of the Center for American Progress who is starting as a counselor to Obama in January, told Politico in an interview several months ago that the White House needs to “focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress.”
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, criticized Podesta’s remarks in a statement. “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.”
On Twitter, Podesta apologized for the “snark.”
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
In 1978, more than 900 people died in a mass cult suicide in Jonestown, in the South American country of Guyana.