Keisha Lance Bottoms, director of the Office of Public Engagement and senior White House adviser, has resigned, the Western Journal reported. The former mayor of Atlanta, who gave up her reelection bid in the wake of a disastrous term in office, claimed her departure was long overdue.
"Term ended in January 2022," Bottoms tweeted with the announcement that she was leaving President Joe Biden's administration." I didn't take a break, planning to work hard for 6 months and relax over the summer.
"@WhiteHouse called again in June and I said, 'I'll stay just thru midterms in November.' Months later this extraordinary season soon ends. Thanks family and @POTUS," Bottoms concluded.
Biden said that Stephen Benjamin, former mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, will replace Bottoms. "Mayor Benjamin is a longtime public servant, who has served the people of South Carolina for over two decades statewide and as a three-term mayor of Columbia," the president said in a statement.
"As a former president of both the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the African American Mayors Association, Steve's deep relationships with communities across the country will serve our administration and the American public well," Biden added. The president also offered high praise for Bottoms.
"Under Keisha's leadership, the Office of Public Engagement has kept equity at the heart of our agenda and continues to serve as the connective tissue between our Administration and everyday Americans who may not have a voice to reach Washington otherwise," Biden said. "I have leaned on Keisha as a close advisor with exceptional instincts, and I am grateful to her for serving our nation with honor and integrity."
"I wish her the best as she returns home to Atlanta to be with her family," Biden concluded. Bottoms will return to Atlanta, where her career as an elected official ended.
Bottoms was a rising star in the Democratic Party as mayor of Atlanta in 2020, Fox News reported. She was even on the shortlist of possible running mates when Biden became the presidential nominee ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
The former mayor had made a name for herself supporting the Black Lives Matter protests in her city and railing against former President Donald Trump. Predictably, her policies led to a rise in crime, and she quickly became a liability despite her ongoing popularity.
Between May 2020 and May 2021, the homicide rate in Atlanta increased by 60% under her governance. After that, Bottoms abandoned her reelection bid even after raising $500,000.
"You can say what you want to say about what you believe to be my deficits. People are entitled to their opinion. But don't ever question whether or not I care," Bottoms said when announcing her decision not to run again.
"My love for this city is deeper than probably many others standing here because my family goes back 100 years in the city," she added. "So whether I am mayor of this city or not, I will do everything that I can possibly do to keep our communities safe."
Afterward, Bottoms was offered a gig at CNN, which she turned down in favor of the White House position. She has not announced her next move but perhaps could pick up another media spot as her political career seems dead in the water.
The Biden administration is about to head into a contentious reelection season for 2024. Some have been quietly leaving their posts ahead of that time, and perhaps Bottoms is just one more to do so.