President Barack Obama had a deputy carry out the politically unpleasant task of firing the first female director of the United States Secret Service.
Julia Pierson was forced to resign Oct. 1 after a series of high-profile security failures, and just five weeks before an election where Obama is trying to boost the turnout of Democratic-leaning progressives and unmarried women. (RELATED: White House Fence Jumper Pushed Past Female Guard)
But Obama did call her after the deed was done, to compliment her on her 30 years of service to the agency, said White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday.
The resignation comes amid several other politically damaging crises, including the arrival of Ebola in the United States, the stalled economy, the wave of Central American migrants and the advance of jihadi forces in Iraq.
The confluence of crises may further damage Obama’s weak public support in time to drag down more Democratic Senate and House candidates.
Pierson’s forced resignation was accepted by Jeh Johnson, Obama’s loyal director of the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Secret Service.
In place of the first female director, Obama picked a retired Irish-American male veteran of the force, John Clancy.
Earnest tried to put a good face on the political meltdown. Pierson “took responsibility for the agency she led, and she took responsibility for fixing them,” he said.
“She believes it was in the best interests of the agency… [and] secretary [Johnson] agreed with that estimate, and the president did as well,” Earnest said. “The president concluded that new leadership of that agency was required.”