"After some cordial discussions, Joe Williams and I mutually decided that the best step for him is to begin a transition to the next phase of his career," Politico editor in chief John Harris said in a memo to staff Saturday. "Joe is an experienced and respected journalist, with keen insights into politics. After nearly 30 years in the business, he has the authority and is ready to give voice to his insights and conclusions in a new setting."
Williams will be on a leave of absence during his transition out, Harris said.
Appearing on MSNBC on June 21, Williams suggested the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is only comfortable around "white folks."
"It’s very interesting that he [Romney] does so many appearances on 'Fox & Friends' and it’s unscripted," Williams told host Martin Bashir. "It’s the only time they let Mitt off the leash, so to speak....Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. That’s one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in some town hall settings, why he can’t relate to people other than that. But when he comes on 'Fox & Friends,' they’re like him. They’re white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company."
Breitbart.com subsequently highlighted a series of negative Twitter messages Williams had posted mocking Romney for his wealth, calling NASCAR racist and making a penis joke involving Ann Romney.
In an email to Mediaite, Williams said he was "disappointed at the circumstances" of his departure, but was grateful for having had the opportunity to work at Politico.