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Trump: Acting homeland security secretary will lead agency

Ben Fox
Associated Press

Washington – 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.

“I am pleased to inform the American Public that Acting Secretary Chad Wolf will be nominated to be the Secretary of Homeland Security,” Trump tweeted. “Chad has done an outstanding job and we greatly appreciate his service!”

Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf testifes during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to examine Department of Homeland Security personnel deployments to recent protests on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Washington.

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 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 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.

That gave new legal ammunition to the many legal challenges to the Trump administration’s restrictive immigration policies. The administration disputed the GAO finding and insisted that both men could legally hold their positions under the law.