The search is on for new leadership at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan prepares to step down on Friday, CBS News reports.
But for now, President Donald Trump is congratulating McAleenan on a “job well done.”
McAleenan out at Homeland Security
Though there has been much speculation that McAleenan and President Trump were never truly on the same page in terms of immigration policy, both men nevertheless released statements expressing their appreciation and gratitude for the work that had been done and accomplishments achieved in recent months in terms of better securing the nation’s southern border.
“Kevin McAleenan has done an outstanding job as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security. We have worked well together with Border Crossings being way down. Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector,” President Trump tweeted Friday afternoon. “Congratulations Kevin, on a job well done! I will be announcing the new Acting Secretary next week. Many wonderful candidates!”
Just a few moments later, McAleenan posted his resignation statement to Twitter, writing:
I want to thank the President for the opportunity to serve alongside the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security. With his support, over the last 6 months, we have made tremendous progress mitigating the border security and humanitarian crisis we faced this year.
In an attached screenshot of the entire statement, McAleenan shared some examples of the “progress” that has been made, such as reducing illegal border crossings, working cooperatively with other nations in the region to reduce the overall number of migrants coming north, and overseeing the deployment of additional border security resources where appropriate. He also vowed to ensure a smooth transition in leadership of the department.
Not always on the same page
McAleenan served as the acting secretary of DHS since taking over the department in April following the resignation of former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Breitbart noted that while Trump praised the positive working relationship he has had with McAleenan, the outgoing DHS secretary had routinely expressed his disagreement with the tone and tenor of the administration’s rhetoric on immigration, even defying the president at times on issues related to border security.
Rumors have consistently swirled that McAleenan was often displeased with his lack of control over messaging for the department, didn’t have a particularly close relationship with the president, and had been considering resigning from his role for some time.
Replacement yet to be named
President Trump has yet to announce who is presently under consideration to succeed McAleenan as chief of DHS, but there has been no shortage of media speculation in that regard.
According to Fox News, Ken Cuccinelli, currently the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office (USCIS) — and a known immigration hardliner — is widely viewed as a likely candidate to replace McAleenan.
Though border security and immigration policies aren’t necessarily in the wheelhouse of USCIS, Cuccinelli has nonetheless been quite visible in numerous media appearances as an effective advocate for the Trump administration’s broader agenda in those realms and has long been regarded as being far more in sync with the president’s priorities than McAleenan.