President Trump is reportedly looking to a trio of immigration hardliners to lead the Department of Homeland Security, filing a vacancy left when Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned.
According to a Trump Washington Examiner op-ed, the president might be considering former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to lead the department or join the administration in as an immigration czar, a role Trump has openly considered adding.
The Washington Examiner op-ed reports:
In a letter to be sent to Trump and obtained by Secrets, 19 leaders of groups that champion constitutional rights, the Tea Party, the Second Amendment, conservative media, and economic freedom, said they “have every confidence in his abilities; his tough on crime stance, his solution-oriented approach, his dedication to the rule of law, his love for America, and most importantly, his loyalty to the cause of making America great again.”
President Trump may also be looking to tap Kevin McAleenan, who he chose to lead the agency as an acting Homeland Security Secretary. A third name is former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
“Both are considered hardliners on the immigration issue,” the Washington Examiner op-ed reports.
Here’s more on the letter:
In their support for Cuccinelli, the 19 wrote, “In this time of national crisis and emergency over national security and immigration, Ken’s background as a no-nonsense law enforcement officer and a major constitutional lawyer, along with his reputation as a fighter, combined with his extensive media experience, including television, make him ideally suited to carry out the duties of the Department of Homeland Security and your immigration agenda.”
The letter war organized by Conservative HQ Chairman Richard Viguerie. Among those signing were former senator and Heritage boss Jim DeMint; Media Research Center chief L. Brent Bozell, Ginni Thomas; head of Liberty Consulting and wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas; two executives at FreedomWorks, Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America.
Trump and Nielsen reportedly had a rocky relationship as the president wanted her to do more to curb illegal immigration. The president would undoubtedly vet her replacement and find someone more closely aligned with his immigration views.
According to the Washington Examiner op-ed, an unidentified “senior Trump aide” said the prospective secretary might not be someone who is nationally known.
“The official also said that the pick will be a hardliner who shares the president’s view that illegal immigration, and paths into the U.S. like asylum claims, must be curbed,” the op-ed continued.
Here’s even more from the Washington Examiner op-ed:
The official dubbed the new immigration czar as a “battlefield commander,” adding, “We have to have somebody in the battlefield on a day-to-day basis, in like a forward theater, that’s actually making decisions in real time to meet deadlines and meet targets,” said the official.
Cuccinelli has long been an outspoken law and order conservative. He barely lost the Virginia gubernatorial race to Terry McAuliffe in 2013.