A political appointee at the Department of Defense has resigned after a CNN KFile inquiry about controversial postings he made on Facebook.
Todd Johnson is a former Trump campaign state director in New Mexico who joined the Department of Defense in 2017 as an advance officer, a Pentagon employee with the sensitive task of providing logistical support related to the secretary’s events and appearances domestically and abroad. Johnson had a pay scale of GS-14, typically reserved for senior civil service positions.
A CNN KFile review of his social media found that Johnson posted birther conspiracies about then-President Barack Obama and shared a video that claimed Obama was the Antichrist.
After CNN initially reached out to the Pentagon for comment, Johnson made his Facebook account private. A spokesperson confirmed Johnson was still working at the Pentagon Tuesday morning, but in the afternoon, after CNN informed the Department of Defense that a story was forthcoming, a Pentagon spokesperson said Johnson had offered his resignation and that it was accepted.
Photos and videos posted online show Johnson has traveled extensively with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis overseas and posed in photos with Trump and at the Pentagon along with Mattis and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
In September, Johnson warned friends on Facebook against posting or tagging him in articles about current events and politics.
“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. I don’t mean to upset anyone, it’s just what I have to do to protect myself and others in my position, and to comply with our policies,” Johnson wrote.
Before taking the Pentagon job, Johnson regularly posted articles and content popular in mainstream conservative circles. But Johnson also shared conspiracy theories about Obama’s citizenship, an off-color joke about Obama dying in a plane crash and a clipping that compared people on entitlements to animals.
In July 2012, Johnson shared a video titled “Michelle Obama admits Barack Obama’s home country is Kenya,” commenting, “people still don’t believe.” Obama released his long-form birth certificate in 2011, showing that he had been born in Hawaii.
That same month, Johnson shared a video on his Facebook page with the caption, “I post(,) you decided.” The seven-minute-long video cited the so-called Bible code to claim Obama was the Antichrist.
In 2013, a friend of Johnson’s commented that Obama “being a Muslim” automatically made him crazy, to which Johnson replied, “Yes sir.”
In September 2013, Johnson agreed with a friend who wrote a post saying that “the true Muslim religion” was not peaceful.
“We should never judge, but all Muslims believe in the Koran? If so, then they are not peaceful,” Johnson commented later in the September 2013 thread.
In 2015, Johnson shared a story that joked about Obama being murdered after Air Force One crashes in rural Kentucky.
The joke’s punchline reads: “President Obama is dead?” the sheriff asked. “Well,” the farmer grumbled, restarting his tractor, “He kept a-saying he wasn’t, but you know how bad that sumbitch lies.”
In another 2012 post, Johnson shared a photo of a newspaper letter to the editor comparing people on entitlements to animals.
“Those who love the entiltement (sic) programs will not get this,” he said.