The third-ranking House Democrat called Wednesday for the Obama administration to reinstate the job of fired USDA official Shirley Sherrod.
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House majority whip and the top-ranking African-American in Congress, said that Sherrod should be offered her job back after being forced to resign after edited video surfaced suggesting that she’d refused to help a white farmer because of racial animus.
Full video has surfaced since then showing that Sherrod, who is black, was instead speaking about overcoming racial barriers, prompting the Department of Agriculture and NAACP, among other organizations, to retract their condemnations of Sherrod.
“Yes, it must include that, at a minimum,” Clyburn said on MSNBC when asked if Sherrod should get her job back.
The Congressional Black Caucus, of which Clyburn is a member, has called for the Department of Agriculture to reinstate her job. Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a middle-of-the-night statement to say that he’s reviewing the matter after Sherrod said Tuesday that Vilsack and the White House had compelled her to resign over the controversy.
“I don’t know the extent to which the president was involved in this. I do know that this lady is owed an apology by somebody,” Clyburn said. “So just to offer a wordy apology is not enough. Something must be done to demonstrate that we realize that we acted too hastily in this instance.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs will field tough questions on the matter Wednesday afternoon during his daily briefing.
In the meanwhile, Clyburn cautioned against media organizations seizing on stories like Sherrod’s with such “haste,” noting that audio and video clips can be edited to the point of inaccuracy.