President Barack Obama officially announced the resignation of United States Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday in Washington. The president made at least three references to Holder’s family life, emphasizing that his wife and children would soon be able to “pursue their own happiness.” The president appointed Holder more than five years ago; he was the first African-American attorney general.
"I come to this moment with mixed emotions,” Holder said. "I hope I have done honor to the faith you have placed in me, Mr. President."
Throughout Holder’s time in the Justice Department, “overall crime rate and overall incarceration rate have gone down,” Obama said. The president called Holder “the people’s lawyer.”
Holder’s legacy will include the scandal of Operation Fast and Furious, a series of failed weapons sting operations aimed at Mexican drug cartel leaders; the attempted prosecution in a civilian courtroom of one of the men behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; his campaign to defend the Voting Rights Act against attempts to hamper voting; and his decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
“No attorney general has demonstrated a civil rights record that is similar to Eric Holder’s,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Republican lawmakers largely celebrated the announcement and many took to Twitter to express their joy over Holder’s resignation.
Holder has “agreed to remain in his post until the confirmation of his successor,” a top Justice Department aide told Politico.
"I'm confident there are members of the president's team who have been thinking about who solid candidates might be," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "I've not seen the list. I'm sure the president has his own ideas and there will be a formal process. This is a high-priority position."
The president has not yet announced Holder’s replacement.