President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he plans to nominate Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to be secretary of the department two weeks after a government auditing agency said that Wolf’s appointment to his acting position in November 2019 was illegal.
“Chad has done an outstanding job and we greatly appreciate his service!” Trump tweeted early Tuesday afternoon.
Wolf was sworn in as the acting DHS chief on Nov. 13, 2019, the same day he was confirmed by the Senate to be the undersecretary for policy in the department. The Government Accountability Office on Aug. 14 issued a legal decision saying Wolf’s appointment to the acting secretary position was “improper” and that under congressionally authorized succession authorities the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency should have been promoted to the role of acting secretary.
Wolf in a brief statement said his “honored” by his nomination.
“As the Homeland faces evolving threats from natural disasters, violent opportunists, malign cyber actors, and transnational criminal organizations, the mission of DHS is as critical as ever,” he said.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement that he opposes Wolf’s nomination to lead DHS.
“In over nine months that Mr. Wolf has been illegitimately serving as Acting Secretary, instead of focusing on the top threats to the nation and the ongoing pandemic that has killed over 175,000, his number one focus has been to please the President and carry out his radical political agenda. I have seen no indication that he understands the Department’s non-partisan national security mission or is willing to carry it out. It’s quite clear he is simply not up to the job and his nomination should not move forward.”
Thompson also said that if the GAO hadn’t issued its legal decision on Wolf’s appointment as acting secretary, Trump would not have nominated him.
“Since every policy decision Mr. Wolf made since last November may be challenged because he lacked proper authority, this is also an attempt to limit the Administration’s exposure to legal challenges,” Thompson said.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the ranking member on the House committee, urged the Senate to quickly confirm Wolf and said he “will provide much needed stability to the Department’s leadership.”