Pres. Trump to nominate acting homeland security secretary to lead agency

Politics

FILE – In this July 21, 2020 file photo, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, speaks during a news conference in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will nominate acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to the top spot in the agency.

The president made the announcement on Twitter, praising Wolf’s leadership of an agency that plays a major role in the key Trump administration policy areas of immigration and crime.

”Chad has done an outstanding job and we greatly appreciate his service!” Trump tweeted.

Wolf’s prospects for Senate confirmation are unclear. There is a narrow window for Wolf to be confirmed before the Nov. 3 election, with the Senate away until Labor Day and then scheduled to recess in mid-October.

Wolf issued a statement on the announcement Tuesday, saying he’s “honored to be nominated by President Trump to lead the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security in safeguarding the American people.”

“As the Homeland faces evolving threats from natural disasters, violent opportunists, malign cyber actors, and transnational criminal organizations, the mission of DHS is as critical as ever,” he added.

Wolf has been a vocal advocate of an administration decision to use DHS to protect federal property and monuments following the protests that erupted this spring over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. That included the deployment of federal agents in tactical gear to protect the courthouse in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Wolf was named acting secretary in November 2019 after Trump removed his predecessor, acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, after six months in the post leading an agency that has the third largest budget in the federal government.

The nomination comes amid uncertainty over whether Wolf, as well as acting deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, has been legally entitled to hold the top job at DHS.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a finding released Aug. 14 that the federal rules of succession had been violated at DHS and neither Wolf nor Cuccinelli could legally hold their positions without Senate confirmation.

Top Democrats have called on Wolf and Cuccinelli to step down.

The administration disputed the GAO finding and insisted that both men could legally hold their positions under the law.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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