Political News

Trump's treatment of admin officials leads McCaul to balk at DHS job, sources say

Posted August 2

One of the top candidates to take over the Department of Homeland Security, Rep. Michael McCaul, has concerns about taking the position due, in part, to how President Donald Trump has treated other top administration officials, two sources familiar with discussions about the matter tell CNN.

One source described McCaul, a Texas Republican who is the chairman of the House homeland security committee, as having the "experience necessary to run the agency" and "open to the position" of DHS secretary. He's also considered a strong contender for the position given his experience and border-state ties and would likely face an easy road to confirmation among his peers in the upper chamber.

But this source said Trump's recent criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other episodes of White House chaos are giving McCaul "pause."

"How the administration has leapt from one chaotic episode to the next and seeing how Trump loyalists like (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions and (New Jersey Gov. Chris) Christie have been treated by the President will likely cause pause," the well-placed source said.

"McCaul has built an excellent reputation in the House and in Texas," the source continued. "He won't want decades of hard work to be called into question or undone in 140 characters by an executive whose temperament and positions seem to change by the hour."

Multiple sources close to the White House and the administration expect the process to replace John Kelly, who was tapped as White House chief of staff this week, will take some time. Having acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke, who was confirmed this spring as the deputy secretary, reduces the pressure to speed things up, the sources say.

Along with Duke and Sessions, other candidates who have been mentioned as potential candidates for the top DHS job include Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and Thomas Homan, the acting director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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