A 2010 email from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says his department was "waiting for the go-ahead" from the White House before accepting the resignation of employee Shirley Sherrod, according to newly released documents, despite Obama administration assertions that her ouster was Vilsack's decision alone.
The email, which was made public Friday in an ongoing federal court case over the matter, shed more light on the evening of July 19, 2010, when the USDA hastily asked Sherrod to resign after a video showing her making supposed racist remarks surfaced on a conservative website. Her dismissal turned into a racial firestorm after it became clear that the video had been edited and her remarks were meant to tell a story of reconciliation.
Both the White House and Vilsack have repeatedly said the agriculture secretary made the decision to ask for Sherrod's resignation without White House input. The emails, along with earlier emails obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act in 2010 and 2012, make it apparent that Vilsack wanted Sherrod to leave the department and ordered her resignation. But a newly-released email sent by Vilsack himself suggests he was awaiting a decision from White House officials on how to proceed.