Trump Defense Department Appointee Todd Johnson Resigns Over Obama Birther Conspiracy Theory Posts

The Pentagon in Washington, U.S., is seen from aboard Air Force One, March 29, 2018. Yuri Gripas/Reuters

A Trump administration political appointee has resigned from his job at the Department of Defense after reporters unearthed controversial social media posts where he advanced a conspiracy theory about the birthplace of former President Barack Obama.

A review of Todd Johnson's Facebook posts by CNN's KFile revealed in July 2012 the former Pentagon employee shared a video advancing the so-called Obama "birther" conspiracy theory. Alongside the video titled "Michelle Obama admits Barack Obama's home country is Kenya," Johnson wrote: "people still don't believe."

President Donald Trump was a vocal supporter of the idea that Obama wasn't a U.S. citizen, which would have made Obama's presidency illegitimate. Last November The New York Times reported Trump continues to push the idea in private conversations, questioning the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate. Obama made his long-form birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii public in 2011.

Johnson also shared a joke on Facebook in 2015 about Obama dying in a plane crash. He posted other comments suggesting Obama was the Antichrist, that Obama was a Muslim and said Islam is not a religion of peace.

In 2017 Johnson was hired at the Pentagon as an advance officer, a position that gave him the responsibility of helping organize Secretary of Defense James Mattis's events and travel in the U.S. and overseas. He also worked as director of the 2016 Trump campaign in New Mexico.

CNN reports Johnson resigned by Tuesday afternoon and made his Facebook account private after the network enquired about his social media posts. The Department of Defense did not immediately respond to Newsweek 's request for comment.

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Johnson warned his Facebook friends last September about connecting him to controversial posts.

"While I really appreciate you tagging me in and posting to my wall articles covering politics and current issues, I have to request that you please refrain from doing so any longer, due to the sensitive nature of my job," Johnson wrote.

"I don't mean to upset anyone," he wrote, "it's just what I have to do to protect myself and others in my position, and to comply with our policies."