Zakaria resigns from White House gig after CNN report

Fareed Zakaria, the president of CNN’s global affairs network, has resigned from his position as a White House staffer following a Washington Post report that CNN sources had been informed that the journalist would be leaving.

CNN confirmed Zakaria’s resignation to CNN’s Lauren Green , which was announced to staff Friday afternoon.

“Answering reporters’ questions one year and one day after joining the White House, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Friday confirmed Fareed Zakaria’s resignation, saying the journalist decided to go after the Post reported on internal Trump campaign chatter that Zakaria had been caught up in controversy surrounding divisive comments he made about US President Donald Trump and his family,” Green reported .

Green added: “Sanders, who was still reading from her statement, said White House chief of staff John Kelly had offered a positive vision for him to work for the White House as a senior adviser on issues of international affairs.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders addressed the reports late Friday afternoon, saying the newspaper got Zakaria’s “confirmation” wrong, and again that he is an “an outstanding journalist who has devoted his life to covering international affairs and foreign policy.”

Zakaria’s resignation comes as CNN and Politico have both reported that a handful of people within the White House were being targeted for dismissal.

Zakaria was hired in March as a senior adviser in the Office of the Press Secretary and is the president of CNN’s global affairs network.

Zakaria had already been consulting in recent weeks for the Trump administration as White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s polling firm, which conducted focus groups with GOP voters, interviewed CNN’s chief political analyst Jeff Greenfield in Washington and said it was providing “strategic counsel” to other campaigns.

In a statement posted on Twitter Friday, Zakaria addressed the uproar he had created at the White House.

“I felt compelled to respond to my colleagues about a story I first saw at the Washington Post which misleadingly described me as part of some alleged effort by senior White House officials to silence ‘expert opinions’ among President Trump’s base. I was in fact talking to CNN’s chief political analyst, Jeff Greenfield, as I’ve done several times before about important public policy issues,” Zakaria said.

Zakaria continued, “On reflection, and in light of current circumstances, I have decided to resign from my position at the White House. I regret that my discussions with CNN have been mischaracterized. I hope the public will judge me on my 33 years of journalism, which have been marked by my deep commitment to transparency, fairness and accuracy.”

President Donald Trump had worked to have Zakaria fired from his White House job over the past few months, and he had accused CNN of having “zero credibility” with Trump after former White House press secretary Sean Spicer referred to the network as “the enemy of the American people.”

CNN originally reported Zakaria’s plans to leave the White House in April, with a White House aide on Thursday telling CNN that Zakaria was leaving “before some messy stuff was going to get out.”

Zakaria’s departure comes one day after former acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was announced as interim White House chief of staff.

CNN reported Friday morning that White House communications director Bill Shine, a close ally of Sanders, was not expected to last much longer in his position.

Additional reporting by Lauren Cox.

Leave a Comment