White House ‘Back to Square One’ in Search for DHS Secretary

The Trump administration is once again searching for a permanent Department of Homeland Security secretary due to the fact that White House aides are not satisfied with the provided array of candidates, Politico reports.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul had been considered as the front-runner for the position, but he no longer is in competition. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who previously led the DHS, privately disagreed with McCaul’s stance on immigration, which has at times diverged from that of the President Donald Trump.

One person close to the process said that Trump administration is now “back to square one” in the search.

Elaine Duke, a DHS veteran who was Kelly’s deputy is now in charge of the department is being, as it copes with the fallout from Trump’s new travel restrictions, his decision to end DACA and a series of powerful hurricanes that have ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

McCaul is in lockstep with Trump on many issues. He is pushing legislation that would provide $10 billion for Trump’s border wall with Mexico. But he also has publicly broken with the president over his travel ban, distancing himself from the restrictions and criticizing its haphazard rollout as “problematic.” McCaul also bashed Trump’s response to the Russia investigations, saying in a July interview, “It sort of looks paranoid to me.”

The White House has taken a deliberate approach to finding a new DHS secretary. Kelly and his deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, are playing key roles in identifying candidates. White House aides are committed to choosing somebody with experience in homeland security and politics.

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