A Trump administration official who came under fire for blog posts in which he questioned whether "the n-word" was offensive will leave the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Bloomberg Law reported Wednesday that Eric Blankenstein, an associate director at CFPB, will leave the agency in upcoming weeks after it was reported last year that old blog posts he had made questioning prosecution of hate crimes and other controversial posts had caused an uproar at the agency.
Among other missions, the CFPB is tasked with stopping discriminatory lending practices. Veterans of the agency under the Obama administration had publicly questioned whether Blankenstein could be trusted to uphold that mission after the blog posts came to light.
“People are pretty dumbstruck at the moment,” a senior CFPB official told The Hill last year. “This is forcing people to confront what should the bureau be doing in regards to race and [that] the bureau is not a place where we haven't had our own problems in the past.”
Blankenstein previously attempted to quell the controversy in a letter to CFPB employees, arguing that “poor judgement in my choice of words back then, or how I framed my arguments, does not make me a racist or a sexist.”
Then-acting CFPB chief Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyJan. 6 committee issues latest round of subpoenas for rally organizers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - To vote or not? Pelosi faces infrastructure decision Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 11, including Pierson, other rally organizers MORE, now acting White House chief of staff, said at the time that Blankenstein would not be fired or reassigned.
“I recognize that this is not the result that some of you may have wanted. But I stand by my decision and will proceed accordingly,” he said at the time.
Progressive groups including Allied Progress celebrated Blankenstein's announced exit from the agency, but questioned why Director Kathleen Kraninger did not remove him immediately upon taking over the agency.
“What took so long? For over five months, Director Kraninger tolerated the racist views of a top aide that had no business overseeing lending discrimination matters on behalf of America’s consumers. She should have fired Mr. Blankenstein on her first day, but instead brought him along on 'listening tours,'" wrote Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Allied Progress.
"At a recent Senate hearing, she couldn’t bear to read aloud Blankenstein’s racist writings, yet valued his judgement and input enough to have him represent her at high-level meetings. That raises serious questions about her own judgement and character," he added.
Blankenstein's last day at CFPB is expected to be May 31.