President Trump has reportedly commenced his search for a new Homeland Security chief, following news that the president is likely to relieve DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of her duties in the coming weeks.
The president is reportedly not satisfied with Nielsen’s immigration and border work and has expressed frustrations that she is not implementing a hard line on those policy issues, according to the Washington Post. Meanwhile, dozens of House Democrats are demanding her resignation, arguing that she is being too tough on these issues and on illegal migrants.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan are considered to be high on the list of possible replacements for Secretary Nielsen, the Washington Examiner reports.
Pekoske served over three decades in the U.S. Coast Guard and achieved the rank of vice admiral. In August 2017, Pekoske was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as the chief officer at the TSA.
McAleenan was Senate-confirmed as CBP commissioner in March with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 77-19. He was deputy commissioner of the agency from 2014 to 2017. Prior to that, McAleenan was acting assistant commissioner of CBP.
Another possible reported replacement is Thomas Homan, whom the president respects for his willingness and ability to defend and advance the Trump administration immigration policies. Homan is the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Politico reports that the president is also considering nominating Maj. Gen. Vincent Coglianese, who runs the Marine Corps Installations Command. Because that he is an active duty service member, nominating Coglianese might introduce legal and logistical challenges into the confirmation process.
The president has also discussed replacing Nielsen with Kris Kobach, who has widespread support among conservatives due to his hawkish immigration stance. Kobach lost his bid for governor of Kansas earlier this month.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s name has been floated for the DHS position, along with several other potential landing spots in the president’s inner circle.
Should Nielsen be relieved of her duties, acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady would assume her role until a replacement is found. Grady, a longtime official in the Department of Defense, should also be considered a potential permanent replacement.