WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas has died. She was 92.
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A mainstay in the White House Press Room, Thomas worked for United Press and Hearst Newspapers. She covered every president since the Eisenhauer Administration.
A cousin of Thomas’ confirmed her passing to CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer. There are tentative plans for a funeral in her hometown of Detroit. Friends and relatives are also discussing a Washington remembrance at a future date.
During a long career in Washington, Thomas covered every president since Dwight Eisenhower. She worked for 57 years for United Press International, where she eventually became White House bureau manager. Between 2000 and 2010, she was a columnist for Hearst Newspapers.
An indefatigable presence in the White House briefing room, Thomas became a pioneer for female journalists. She was the first female member of the Gridiron Club and the first female president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. As news of her death spread on Saturday, several prominent female journalists took to Twitter to hail Thomas as a groundbreaking figure.
Despite her long career, Thomas became embroiled in controversy in 2010 when she was asked about her views on the State of Israel. An Arab American who was raised as a Christian, Thomas suggested Israel was “occupying” Palestine and that Israelis should “get the hell out.”
When asked where they should go, she said they should “go home” to Europe or “America and everywhere else.”
After her comments ignited a controversy, she was forced to resign from her job at Hearst.
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