An aide to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has left the senator's office after coming under for his past remarks expressing admiration for the Confederacy.
Jack Hunter, who started working for the senator in 2010, told the Daily Caller that was leaving to clear his name, and to ensure the charges of racism against him wouldn't be a distraction in Paul's office.
"I've long been a conservative, and years ago, a much more politically incorrect (and campy) one," Hunter said. "But there's a significant difference between being politically incorrect and racist. I've also become far more libertarian over the years, a philosophy that encourages a more tolerant worldview, through the lens of which I now look back on some of my older comments with embarrassment."
Before joining Paul's staff, Hunter had a radio program, "The Southern Avenger," in which he openly discussed racial pride, pro-secession ideals, and praised John Wilkes Booth for assassinating Abraham Lincoln.
In an interview with Huffington Post earlier this month, Paul called some of Hunter's remarks "absolutely stupid" but defended his aide. "If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately," he said. "If I thought he would treat anybody on the color of their skin different than others, I'd fire him immediately."
Paul hired Hunter in 2010 to help him on his book "The Tea Party Goes to Washington" and later made Hunter his social media director.