William C. Bradford, appointed by Donald Trump to head the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, resigned Thursday afternoon in the midst of a scandal involving disparaging comments he allegedly made online regarding former President Barack Obama and his mother.
On Tuesday, CNN’s KFile reported on evidence it found that suggested Bradford had been posting comments online through a Disqus account that was linked to him through the Google cache. The account frequently commented on articles written by Bradford, and at one point the user even directed another commenter to contact him at Bradford’s email and phone number.
Bradford initially told CNN that the comments that appeared to be from him were the result of “cyber attacks and Internet crimes” committed against him by “imposters in social media” over the past several years. CNN now reports that a DOE spokesperson says that Bradford has resigned.
“William Bradford tendered his resignation this afternoon and is no longer with the Department of Energy,” DOE spokesperson Shaylyn Hynes told CNN.
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden reportedly sent letters to both the FBI and the DOE requesting more information about Bradford’s claims of having been hacked.
In June, following his appointment to the Department of Energy, The Washington Post reported provocative comments Bradford made on Twitter—including calling Obama a Kenyan and saying that the World War II-era internment of Japanese-Americans was necessary. Bradford apologized for the comments at the time in a statement to the Post, calling them “inexcusable.”
CNN also reports that in the comments section of a September 2016 article on the Daily Wire, a conservative news site, the Disqus account said to be Bradford’s wrote, “Well, it is a fact: Obama is the son of a fourth-rate p&*n actress and w@!re.” The comment is an apparent reference to an unfounded right-wing claim that Obama’s mother posed for nude photos, and perhaps a reference to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte calling Obama a “son of a whore.”
When contacted by CNN on Monday, Bradford said in an email from his personal account, “I cannot comment on an ongoing federal investigation into multiple cyber attacks and Internet crimes committed against me over the past several years, to include email intrusions, hacking, and impostors in social media.”
The FBI and the DOE have neither confirmed nor denied the alleged investigation.
According to CNN, this is not the first time Bradford has resigned amid turmoil over things he has allegedly written or said. In 2015 he resigned from his position as a professor at West Point after he wrote an academic paper that argued that the U.S. military should target Islamic holy sites as part of the war on terror.
Read more at CNN.