Tags: Homeland Security | Trump Administration | absence | dhs | secretary | opens | trump

Report: Gen. Kelly's Absence at DHS Opens Trump for Criticism

Image: Report: Gen. Kelly's Absence at DHS Opens Trump for Criticism
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 27 August 2017 08:57 AM

As much as the assignment of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly to White House chief of staff was designed to remove chaos and restore order in President Donald Trump's administration, it has left it open for criticism for falling to fill the sizable hole atop DHS.

While the Senate would not be able to approve any replacement until after its return from August recess Sept. 5, yet another stalled appointment has left the Trump administration vulnerable, The Hill reported.

"The White House understands that they need to get someone in that position quickly because if a terrorist attack were to occur without a leader at the helm of that department, they are vulnerable to the criticism that they're asleep at the switch," a source close to the White House told The Hill.

Reasons for the lack of an announcement include the administration avoiding giving its opponents time to publicly discredit the DHS nominee before the Senate's return, according to the report.

Also, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., declined to commit to being a potential replacement for Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who had been bandied about as Kelly's replacement at DHS. Manchin, a moderate Democrat, faces a potentially difficult campaign for reelection next year.

If Manchin did take the DHS post, recently flipped Gov. Jim Justice, W.Va., would get to appoint a Republican replacement, a move which could help the tight GOP edge (52-48) in the Senate – especially considering an Obamacare repeal failed by just one vote.

Currently, Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke, who passed Senate approval 85-14, is serving as the acting head of DHS. She leads in Gen. Kelly's absence since July on immigration enforcement, domestic terrorism defense, the planning for the border wall, and FEMA – the agency which is dealing with the Hurricane Harvey's landfall and destruction as a Category 4 in Texas this weekend.

"There's certainly someone at the helm [of DHS]," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday before Harvey's arrival.

In addition to elevating the widely approved Duke for the role, acting ICE director Thomas Homan, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, are other rumored replacements, according to the report.

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As much as the assignment of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly to White House chief of staff was designed to remove chaos and restore order in President Donald Trump's administration, it has left it open for criticism for falling to fill the sizable...
absence, dhs, secretary, opens, trump, criticism
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2017-57-27
Sunday, 27 August 2017 08:57 AM
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