Published December 24, 2015
The White House brushed aside mounting questions about controversial green jobs czar Van Jones on Friday, even as congressional Republicans demanded Jones's resignation and some prominent Democrats urged the president to fire the outspoken aide if he has not resigned before next week's Joint Session of Congress.
Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana became the first lawmaker to call for the resignation of President Obama's "green jobs" adviser over new revelations about his past affiliations and statements.
Pence said Obama should get rid of Van Jones, 40, if the adviser is unwilling to resign.
"His extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate," Pence said in a written statement released Friday.
Pence also called on Obama to suspend appointment of additional so-called "czars" until Congress has a chance to examine the background and responsibilities of such individuals, as well as to determine the constitutionality of such appointments.
"The Constitution of the United States vests Congress with the responsibility to advise and consent in the appointment of high ranking officials by the president," Pence's statement continued. "To date, President Obama has appointed more than thirty individuals to czar positions within his administration without permitting the Congress or the American people to properly examine their backgrounds or public records."
Senator Kit Bond R-Mo., demanded that the Senate Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee conduct hearings to probe Jones's behavior and "reassure the American people that their government is safe from his divisive, incendiary and ultimately counterproductive sentiments."
Robert Beckel, a former special assistant to President Jimmy Carter and FOX News political analyst, was the first prominent Democrat to call on Jones to step down. "My guess is that the resignation letter is being written as we speak," Beckel told FOX News on Friday. A veteran of nearly 200 political campaigns, Beckel said President Obama cannot afford the distractions created by Jones as the chief executive prepares to address a Joint Session of Congress on health care reform next Wednesday.
Specifically, Beckel cited the potential, as long as Jones remains on the White House staff, for Republicans to brand Obama's reform ideas "radical." "Obama has been accused, during the  campaign, of associating with people who were radicals -- whether it's Bill Ayers or Reverend Wright," Beckel said, referring, respectively, to the former Weather Underground leader whom Obama came to know during the 1990s and the inflammatory preacher at Obama's former church in Chicago. "[The president] has to do with Jones what he did with Wright, which is to cut his relationship off."
Jones, the founder of Green for All, which focuses on creating environmentally friendly jobs in poor areas, continues to be a focus of President Obama's critics after video surfaced of him referring to Republicans as "assholes." It later was revealed that he once signed a petition supporting the "9/11 truther" movement, which contends that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks might have been allowed to happen by the Bush administration.
FOX News' James Rosen contributed to this report.