WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama said the decision to resign by journalist Helen Thomas was the right thing to do.
Thomas, a columnist with the Hearst Corp., ended a career spanning six decades and 10 presidents on Monday in the wake of criticism of her remarks that Jews in Israel should "go home" to Poland and Germany.
"The comments were offensive," Obama told NBC’s "Today Show" in an interview broadcast Tuesday. "It’s a shame because Helen is somebody who had been a correspondent through I don’t know how many presidents, who was a real institution in Washington, but I think she made the right decision."
Meanwhile, a Jewish congresswoman distanced herself from Thomas a month after having her speak at a fund-raiser.
"I think it is fitting that she has resigned her position as a columnist for Hearst over her inappropriate and highly offensive remarks," Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said in a statement. "It is a sad ending to Thomas’ pioneering career — one that has been uplifting for women in journalism — but it is clear that there is no room for such deplorable bias, nor should there be."
Joel Pollak, a Republican who is challenging Schakowsky in her suburban Chicago district, on Sunday had issued a release noting that Thomas had headlined a May 7 fund-raiser for Schakowsky in which the congresswoman had called Thomas "awesome." He called on Schakowsky to repudiate the columnist.