The surprise resignation of Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen Sunday night was followed by the White House decision to turn to a nominee universally described as “safe” and “non-controversial.”
In naming U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan as “acting” DHS secretary, the President passed over such long-rumored prospective successors to Nielson as former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Because of strong past statements about illegal immigrants, several sources told Newsmax, neither Homan nor Kobach would have had an easy time with Senate confirmation—even in a Senate controlled by Republicans, 53 to 47.
In contrast, McAleenan, 47, was confirmed as Customs Commissioner by 77 to 19 in March 2018. At the time of his nomination by President Trump, officials of both the Bush and Obama Administration sent a letter of recommendation to the Senate on behalf of McAleenan praising him as “supremely qualified.”
McAleenan had previously served as deputy commissioner of the same agency from 2014-17 and was previously Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations.
McAleenan, a graduate of Amherst University and the University of Chicago Law School, has an added “plus” for confirmation hearings: he is the son of immigrants, his mother from Finland and his father from Ireland.
In announcing McAleenan’s appointment on Twitter, Trump expressed his confidence that “Kevin will do a great job.” Sources told Newsmax that this was a clear sign he intends to send the “Acting” Secretary’s name for Senate confirmation sooner rather than later.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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