It looks like Michael Brown won't be getting a Medal of Freedom after all. The FEMA director -- praised by the president so recently for doing a "heck of a job" in handling the aftermath of Katrina -- has resigned from his office, CNN and the Associated Press report.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff removed Brown from his role as the leader of the federal government's hurricane relief efforts last week. Brown said at the time that he was going to go home to Washington, "walk my dog and hug my wife, and maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night's sleep" before heading "right back to FEMA [to] continue to do all I can to help these victims."
Instead, Brown submitted his resignation today. According to the Associated Press, he said that he was leaving FEMA "in the best interests of the agency and in the best interests of the president," and that he wanted the public's focus to be on FEMA and what its workers are trying to do along the Gulf Coast -- which is to say, not on Brown, his stumbling response to Katrina or the questions that have arisen about how he came to be FEMA's director in the first place.
Update: CNN is now airing footage of an interview today with President Bush. Asked to comment on Brown's resignation, the president said he hadn't spoken with Chertoff yet and therefore didn't have anything to say. "Maybe you know something I don't," he said.