Business Insider: John Podesta, who last week was named as a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, apologized Wednesday
morning after being quoted as comparing House Republicans to cult followers of Jim Jones.
In an interview earlier this fall — part of which was published in a lengthy Politico Magazine profile — Podesta said that Obama and his advisers should look to work around Congress for the rest of his
second term. He suggested that Congress was uncooperative — and then compared the House to members of the cult that committed mass suicide in 1978.
"They should focus on executive action, given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress," Podesta said.
House Speaker John Boehner's office quickly ripped the comments.
"For those who’ve forgotten, a Democratic member of Congress was murdered in Jonestown and a current one, Rep. Jackie Speier, was shot five times during the same incident," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement.
"If this is the attitude of the new White House, it’s hard to see how the president gets anything done again."
Later Wednesday morning, Podesta apologized on Twitter.
This is not the first time a White House aide has been criticized for a colorful metaphor about House Republicans. In October, in the midst of the last debt-ceiling fight, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer compared Republicans to terrorists, arsonists, and kidnappers.
"What we're not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest," Pfeiffer said then on CNN.
In an old interview, my snark got in front of my judgment. I apologize to Speaker Boehner, whom I have always respected.— John Podesta (@johnpodesta) December 18, 2013