Grassley warns Trump may be 'pulling the rug out' from those helping him on immigration


DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation comes amid President Donald Trump’s frustration over a spike in border crossings. Her departure could add difficulties for a president determined to implement his own hardline immigration policies. (April 8)

WASHINGTON – The most senior Republican member of the Senate warned President Donald Trump on Monday that he might be “pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him” when it comes to achieving his immigration goals. 

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said during an interview with Fox News that he was “very surprised” by the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday after “everything seemed to have gone smoothly” since reports late last year that Trump was on the verge of firing her.

On Monday, another top DHS official departed when the White House announced the removal of Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, and last week Trump withdrew the nomination of Ronald Vitiello, who was expected to become the new director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

Grassley expressed confidence in the “very qualified” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, whom Trump said would become the acting head of DHS when Nielsen leaves her post on Wednesday. And he said “the president has a right to have whoever he wants” in the post. 

3 things to know: The ‘crisis’ at the border and in Trump’s Homeland Security Department

White House departures: Who’s been fired and who resigned

But Grassley said he was “worried about what I have seen further down the bureaucracy like in the immigration service.” He was particularly concerned about reports that Lee Francis Cissna, director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, and his policy director, Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, could also be the next ones out amid what many are characterizing as a “purge” within DHS. 

“It would be a real mistake” to “fire good people like that,” Grassley told Fox News on Monday. He said Cissna had served on his staff for three years and that he worked with Nuebel Kovarik for 17 years. 

“Those are good public servants,” Grassley told The Washington Post earlier Monday, adding that he was “very, very concerned” about the reports regarding Cissna. “Besides the personal connection I have with them and the qualifications they have, they are the intellectual basis for what the president wants to accomplish in immigration.” 

A number of media reports have said White House adviser Stephen Miller is driving the shakeup within the DHS and is encouraging Trump’s desire to appoint people who will apply “tougher” immigration policies. 

More: Donald Trump said wind turbines cause cancer. Chuck Grassley called that ‘idiotic.’

When asked about Miller, Grassley told the Post, “I think it would be hard for him to demonstrate he’s accomplished anything for the president.” 

“The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign, throughout his two and a half years of presidency,”  Grassley told the Post. “He’s pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.”

More: Donald Trump Jr. slams Ilhan Omar for calling Stephen Miller a ‘white nationalist’

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  • Director of the United States Secret Service Randolph1 of 37
  • Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned2 of 37
  • Linda McMahon, the head of the Small Business Administration,3 of 37
  • Former Fox News executive Bill Shine resigned on March4 of 37
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  • James Mattis resigned as Secretary of Defense on Dec.7 of 37
  • President Trump announces that he has accepted the8 of 37
  • Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott9 of 37
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  • Rex Tillerson, outgoing U.S. Secretary of State arrives15 of 37
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  • John McEntee, personal aide to President Trump, left17 of 37
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  • On Sept. 29, 2017 Health and Human Services Secretary22 of 37
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  • Walter Shaub resigned his post as director of the United31 of 37
  • Mike Dubke (R) on May 30, 2017, confirmed his resignation32 of 37
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  • Deputy National Security Advisor, K.T. McFarland speaks34 of 37
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