Secretary of Agriculture Stands By Request for Sherrod’s Resignation

This is the statement from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. He’s actually standing by the decision to force Shirley Sherrod’s resignation. Wow. This is crazy.

Yesterday I asked for and accepted Ms. Sherrod’s resignation for two reasons.

First, for the past 18 months we have been working to turn a page on the sordid civil rights record of the USDA, and this controversy could make it more difficult to move forward on correcting injustices.

Second, state and rural development directors make many decisions and are often called to use their discretion. The controversy surrounding her comments would create situations where her decisions, rightly or wrongly, would be called into question, making it difficult for her to bring jobs into Georgia.

Our policy is clear. There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and we strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person. We have a duty to ensure that when we provide services to the American people, we do so in an equitable manner. But equally important is our duty to instill confidence in the American people that we are fair service providers.

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