Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas abruptly announced her retirement Monday following an uproar over comments she made last month about Jews in Israel. Hearst Corporation, which employed Thomas as a columnist, put out a brief story via Hearst News Service announcing the retirement "effective immediately."
A firestorm erupted over the weekend after video surfaced of Thomas saying Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine," and saying they go back "home" to Germany, Poland and the United States. After the video was posted on several web sites, Thomas quickly apologized on Friday.
"I deeply regret my comments," she said in the statement, claiming they "do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance."
But the apology was not enough. The White House Correspondents Association called her remarks "indefensible." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called her remarks "offensive and reprehensible" on Monday, as other former White House spokespeople called for Thomas to be fired.
The retirement brings an and to a career that spanned six decades. Thomas has covered every president since Dwight Eisenhower. She was a fixture in the front row of news conferences, often having the honor of asking the first question. Her 90th birthday is Aug. 4.
Here's the video that did her in: