Chad Wolf Resigns From DHS In Wake of Capitol Riots
The exodus from the White House continues as more Trump staffers and Cabinet members are handing in their resignations in the wake of Trump’s role in the insurrection at the Capitol last Wednesday. And despite growing threats of more violence in the days leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, the Department of Homeland Security has lost its acting chief.
Chad Wolf, who created controversy during the summer of 2020 by deploying troops to cities such as Portland and Chicago during the Black Lives Matter protests, resigned his position on Monday. Wolf never moved beyond the title of Acting Secretary, and in the remaining days of the Trump Administration, the role will be temporarily filled by FEMA Director Pete Gaynor.
Wolf was in the chief role at the department in an acting capacity for 14 months. His tenure has repeatedly come up in litigation against the Trump administration’s immigration actions, most recently last week regarding asylum limits.
“I am saddened to take this step, as it was my intention to serve the Department until the end of this Administration,” Wolf wrote, citing ongoing litigation challenging the validity of his appointment. “Unfortunately, this action is warranted by recent events, including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary. These events and concerns increasingly serve to divert attention and resources away from the important work of the Department in this critical time of a transition of power,” Wolf added.
House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson called the timing of Wolf’s resignation “questionable,” citing the concerns about the legality of his appointment. Heading into a week with the FBI warning of possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols and at the US Capitol, almost all the key national security agencies are being run by acting leaders, including the Department of Justice and Department of Defense.
With news that DHS's Chad Wolf is stepping down
Reminder of what helped get us into this mess in first place.
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) January 11, 2021
Wolf’s legitimacy has been a struggle for the department and has threatened to derail policies and other actions put in place during his tenure. In November, a federal judge found Wolf had not been legally serving as acting Homeland Security secretary when he signed rules limiting applications and renewals for DACA, which shields undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, and said those rules are now invalid. The program — which Trump pledged to terminate — was later restored.
On Thursday, it was revealed that the White House had withdrawn Wolf’s official nomination to the secretary post, sparking concerns among DHS officials about whether Wolf could legally stay.