Sen. Rand Paul's aide who came under fire recently for his pro-confederate past has resigned from his post in the Kentucky Republican's office to return to his career as a political pundit.
The Huffington Post reports
that Paul confirmed the news of Jack Hunter's resignation Monday and said that it was a "mutual decision" between the senator and his aide. Paul added that he hopes that Hunter's presence on his staff doesn't become a problem as he seeks to broaden the Republican Party in the future.
"I think everybody occasionally has people that work for them who sometimes have a background that damages what you're trying to do," Paul said. "But I think people can judge me on who I am and what I'm trying to do."
The Washington Free Beacon
reported earlier this month that Hunter, who worked as Paul's director of new media and helped co-author Paul's book in 2011, offered anonymous political commentary on a local South Carolina rock station from 1999 to 2012 under the name the "Southern Avenger," as a pro-secessionist and neo-Confederate pundit.
Hunter told The Daily Calle
r, where he has previously published commentary, that he made the decision because he did not want to be a distraction for Paul as well as to clear his own reputation, especially since many now believe that he is a racist.
"I've long been a conservative, and years ago, a much more politically incorrect (and campy) one," said Hunter to The Daily Caller in an email. "But there's a significant difference between being politically incorrect and racist."
"I've also become far more libertarian over the years, a philosophy that encourages a more tolerant worldview, through the lens of which I now look back on some of my older comments with embarrassment," he added.
In 2004, he offered praise for Abraham Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth in one commentary.
"Although Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth's heart was in the right place, the Southern Avenger does regret that Lincoln's murder automatically turned him into a martyr," he said.
He later added in another commentary that he "raise[s] a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth's birthday."
Paul initially came to Hunter's defense in an interview with The Huffington Post
on July 11.
"People are calling him a white supremacist," Paul said. "If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately."
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