Trump to Nominate Chad Wolf for DHS Secretary

August 25, 2020 Updated: August 25, 2020

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Chad Wolf for secretary of Homeland Security.

Trump announced his plan Aug. 25 on Twitter.

Wolf is the current acting secretary, a role he assumed on Nov. 13, 2019, after the Senate confirmed him as an acting undersecretary.

“Chad has done an outstanding job and we greatly appreciate his service!” Trump wrote in a missive.

Wolf said in a statement that he was honored to be nominated by the president.

“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 said.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hasn’t had a permanent secretary since Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April of last year.

Because Republicans control the Senate, Wolf will likely be confirmed with few issues.

The succession order of top DHS posts came under scrutiny this month. A congressional watchdog said it was improperly altered when Kevin McAleenan became acting secretary. That made Wolf’s eventual promotion “invalid,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) claimed in a nonbinding legal opinion.

The watchdog conclusions were “baseless and baffling,” Chad Mizelle, a DHS lawyer, responded, arguing that the opinion left out that Nielsen personally swore McAleenan in as acting head before stepping down.

The staffer who wrote the report appears to have only graduated law school three years ago and spent time working on a Democratic campaign, Mizelle wrote in the letter.

president trump
President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a media briefing in the James Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on Aug. 23, 2020. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

A GAO spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement: “We stand by our decision, but will certainly review their concerns. GAO has rigorous standards to ensure that all of our legal decisions are accurate, nonpartisan, and independent.”

Wolf tackled the issue on Sunday during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“What I will say is, the Homeland Security Act gives the secretary of homeland security discrete and broad discretion, exclusive authority to appoint his or her successor. So, Secretary Nielsen, as you mentioned, did that in three different ways. She amended the order of succession. She sent out an employee message to over 250,000 employees of the Department of Homeland Security indicating that Kevin McAleenan would succeed her. And then she swore in Kevin McAleenan,” he said.

“If that’s not any clearer about her picking her successor, I’m not sure what is. So, GAO did not look at all three of those measures. They only commented on one of those. And, as you can tell, we disagree with what the GAO said.”

Pressed on why DHS has had an acting head for so long, Wolf said he has been “very clear” that he strongly believes the department needs a Senate-confirmed secretary.

“I will continue to say that. I don’t make personnel decisions from the White House. The White House Personnel Office does,” he said. “I’ll continue to talk with them about filling key leadership vacancies at the department. And we will continue to work through that.”

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