The Senate’s only African-American member on Thursday criticized the Obama administration’s firing of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, but said the incident has been dealt with properly by the White House.
Sherrod was fired from her job at the USDA this week by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for video clips that showed her making what appeared to be racially insensitive comments at an NAACP meeting in Georgia. The clips were later discovered to have been taken out of context by a conservative blogger, and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Wednesday apologized for her firing.
“It was a mistake, a real mistake,” Burris said of the incident. “But it’s been dealt with, and she’s been offered a job to reinstate her, which was appropriate.”
Vilsack has offered Sherrod, who is black, a different job at USDA in which she would oversee civil rights issues. Sherrod has replied that she is considering the offer but wants to first speak with President Obama about a perceived long history of racial problems at the agency.