Soon after, Politico reported that congressional Republicans were “alarmed” and “blindsided” by the DHS purge and had begun urging Trump not to fire anyone else. A day later, the cabinet agency parted ways with its deputy secretary.
Claire Grady, the acting Homeland Security Department deputy secretary, has offered to resign, according to outgoing Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
“Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady has offered the President her resignation, effective tomorrow,” Nielsen tweeted Tuesday evening. “For the last two years, Claire has served @DHSgov w excellence and distinction. She has been an invaluable asset to DHS – a steady force and a knowledgeable voice.”
It appears in this instance that Grady’s ouster had very little to do with her service. Rather, she was the victim of a bureaucratic game of chairs.
After Trump forced out DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the president decided he wanted Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, to succeed her, at least temporarily. The trouble is, that wasn’t exactly legal: there’s a line of succession at Homeland Security, and in the wake of Nielsen’s forced resignation, Claire Grady was supposed to become the acting head of the agency.
Since Trump preferred someone else, Grady, despite decades of experience as a career official, had to go, too.
So, is the Homeland Security drama over? Not just yet.
Lee Francis Cissna, the head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, is also rumored to be on the chopping block, though NBC News reported that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is trying to prevent Cissna’s firing.
Either way, as thing stand, the Department of Homeland Security has no Senate-confirmed secretary, no Senate-confirmed deputy secretary, no Senate-confirmed Secret Service director, no Senate-confirmed FEMA chief, no Senate-confirmed head of ICE, and no Senate-confirmed DHS inspector general.
As Kevin McAleenan, the current Customs and Border Protection commissioner, settles in as the acting DHS chief, his office won’t have a Senate-confirmed commissioner, either.
And, of course, we can’t say with confidence who else may also be forced from their posts.