Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan is stepping down from his position President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Friday evening.
Trump said McAleenan had done “an outstanding job” during his tenure and that he wanted to spend “more time with his family and go to the private sector.”
“Congratulations Kevin, on a job well done,” Trump tweeted.
Trump added that there were many “wonderful candidates” to replace McAleenan and that he would make an announcement next week.
McAleenan previously served as the Customs and Border Protection’s commissioner, a position that required a Senate confirmation, and other roles within the DHS umbrella during former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush’s tenures.
McAleenan issued a statement on his departure via Twitter:
—Acting Sec. Kevin McAleenan (@DHSMcAleenan) October 12, 2019
CBS News reported that McAleenan tendered his resignation on Friday, and a source told the news outlet that his departure was not influenced by the impeachment inquiry.
“His goal was to bring down the numbers of border crossings,” the source told CBS News. “He met that goal, and he has done as much as he can in this political environment.”
Since assuming the post in April, McAleenan had spearheaded efforts that reduced crossings at the border. In his first full month as acting secretary, his department apprehended 130,000 migrants, CBS News reported. McAleenan also signed off and supported Trump’s border wall, describing it as “not just a dumb barrier,” according to Politico.
However, McAleenan was sometimes at odds with the White House. He told border agents to ignore the president’s order to indiscriminately turn away migrants at the border, telling them they did not have the authority to follow that suggestion, The New York Times reported.
McAleenan also said he felt “uncomfortable” representing the department in such a polarized time, especially with Trump’s rhetoric regarding undocumented migrants — calling them “illegal aliens — The Washington Post reported.
“What I don’t have control over is the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time,” McAleenan said recently to The Post. “That’s uncomfortable, as the accountable, senior figure.”
McAleenan was shouted off stage at a Georgetown Law Center’s annaul immigration conference earlier this week. He appeared on Fox and Friends and told the hosts that he got booed off stage after about eight minutes.
“Part of the irony here is that this is supposed to be a group of immigration law experts who wanted to hear the facts of what’s happening on the border, the facts of what’s broken about our immigration system,” McAleenan said on the newscast. “I was going to challenge them on how we could talk and start a dialogue about how to fix it.”
“But, apparently [I] didn’t get that opportunity,” he said.