Journalist Joe Williams has lost his job at Politico, the website reported Saturday, one week after he was suspended for making controversial comments about Mitt Romney on cable television and Twitter.
Politico editor John Harris announced Williams' departure in a memo sent to staff Saturday morning. "After some cordial discussions, Joe Williams and I mutually decided that the best step for him is to begin a transition to the next phase of his career," he wrote. "Joe is an experienced and respected journalist, with keen insights into politics. After nearly 30 years in the business, he has the authority and is ready to give voice to his insights and conclusions in a new setting."
On June 21, Williams made an MSNBC appearance to discuss immigration. When asked what his thoughts were on Romney's problem connecting with Hispanic voters, he said the former Massachusetts governor appeared ""very comfortable" around "white folks."
Conservative websites pounced on the remarks, posting the video and digging through Williams' tweets for examples of overtly partisan leanings. Politico editors responded that day, suspending Williams and releasing a statement saying his MSNBC remark "fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment." They also faulted "an unacceptable number" of Williams' statements on Twitter for failing to "cover politics fairly and free of partisan bias," as Politico reporters are required to do.
In an interview with Current TV host Bill Press days after his suspension, Williams claimed that he had been the target of a deliberate right-wing smear campaign. ""It's the schoolyard bully concept," he said. "They're in the business of gathering scalps."
According to Politico media reporter Dylan Byers, Williams wrote that he was "disappointed" at the circumstances surrounding his exit, but was still grateful he had a chance to work at the organization.