Obama: right decision for Helen Thomas to resign

Helen Thomas with President Obama. The two share a birthday

Helen Thomas with President Obama. The two share a birthday

President Barack Obama has said it was the right decision for White House reporter Helen Thomas to resign after she called for all Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine".

He said in a television interview that Helen Thomas’ remarks were “offensive”.

The veteran reporter, who has worked in Washington since the Kennedy administration, announced her resignation after footage emerged of her saying Jews in Israel should "go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else”.

Although the President said it was a shame to lose such an “institution”, he added: “I think those comments were out of line, and hopefully she recognises that”.

This was the first comment on the controversy from President Obama, although high profile political commentators including Ari Fleischer, a former George W Bush press secretary, had said her comments advocated “religious cleansing” and she should be fired.

The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, the 89-year-old journalist has said she regretted the remarks, made during a White House Jewish Heritage Month event in May.

Last updated: 5:02pm, June 8 2010