Presidential adviser Van Jones is resigning after coming under fire for signing a controversial petition regarding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The White House issued a statement late Saturday saying that Jones was giving up his post at the Council on Environmental Quality, where he helped coordinate government agencies focused on delivering millions of green jobs to the ailing U.S. economy.
Jones, who denied agreeing with the petition and issued an apology last week, said he was a victim of health-care reform opponents.
"On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me," Jones said in the statement. "They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide."
"But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future," Jones said.
Full story CNN
FOX NEWS: Jones was an self-described "communist" during the 1990s and previously worked with a group dedicated to Marxist and Leninist philosophies. His comments, even in recent years, were often racially charged. He's blamed "white polluters and white environmentalists" for "steering poison" to minority communities. In 2005, he drew a distinction between white and black youths involved in shooting incidents by referencing the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
"You've never seen a Columbine done by a black child. Never," Jones said. "They always say, 'We can't believe it happened here. We can't believe it's these suburban white kids.' It's only them!" he said. "Now, a black kid might shoot another black kid. He's not going to shoot up the whole school."
But such statements did not draw widespread attention until after a February video surfaced showing him calling Republicans "assholes" during an address in Berkeley, Calif. Jones apologized, but faced down his past again when it was discovered that he signed a 2004 statement calling on then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and others to launch an investigation into evidence that suggests "people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."