White House Withdraws President’s Nominee to Head FEMA

The White House will withdraw Jeff Byard’s nomination to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, seven months after President Donald Trump nominated him for the position, according to a senior administration official and a congressional source.

The President will now nominate acting FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor, the agency’s confirmed deputy administrator, they added.

CNN reports that Byard’s nomination was in trouble due to personal disagreements recently, resulting in his request that his nomination be withdrawn. In a letter he sent to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, Byard said that “it would be best for me to focus entirely on pressing issues related to my current role as the Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery.”

Byard added that he felt honored by the nomination, but that he was “looking forward to continuing my service with the Agency under the leadership of Acting Administrator Gaynor.”

According to a source, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was informed Wednesday of the White House’s decision to withdraw the nomination.

Politico reported last week that Byard had been accused of taking part in an altercation and his confirmation in the Senate was delayed indefinitely. The FBI later determined that the accusations were false.

Senator Ron Johnson acknowledged last week that there were issues with the nomination, saying, “There were some issues raised that are being investigated.”

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