A handful of Republican establishment Senators are looking to torpedo the possibility of President Trump nominating Ken Cuccinelli to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a report claims.
Republican Senators who spoke on the record to Politico, and some Republican staffers who spoke anonymously, seemed to warn Trump against nominating Cuccinelli to lead DHS because they would oppose his nomination even in a crucial election year.
“The White House would be well advised to consult with the Senate and senators before they take any decisive action that might be embarrassing to Mr. Cuccinelli or to the White House itself,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who called the attempt to fill the department without Senate confirmations a “concern.” [Emphasis added]
Cuccinelli once headed the Senate Conservatives Fund, an organization critical of the establishment GOP that ran primary campaigns against incumbents. That past has not been forgotten: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said earlier this year that he has a “lack of enthusiasm” for Cuccinelli and warned in April about nominating Cuccinelli to the permanent position. [Emphasis added]
McConnell stood by those remarks in a brief interview on Wednesday: “I don’t think I have anything to add to what I said about that earlier.” [Emphasis added]
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV) also hinted to Politico that Cuccinelli was unliked by McConnell and Republican leadership in the Senate and thus would struggle to be confirmed for DHS Secretary.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said he has developed a good working relationship with Cuccinelli in recent months, as the conservative currently heads the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency.
As Breitbart News reported, Trump has wanted to nominate Cuccinelli for the DHS job. Likewise, more than 100 conservative leaders and organizations have thrown their support behind Cuccinelli against the wishes of the Republican establishment.
“We have no doubt that he will execute the president’s agenda with the integrity, commitment, and excellence that we have known him to bring to every other position,” the leaders wrote in a letter to Trump.
Meanwhile, insiders have sought to prop up former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s chief of staff Chad Wolf for the opening. Wolf previously worked as a lobbyist, representing NASSCOM, a leader in the outsourcing industry that uses many H-1B visas to replace American workforces with an Indian workforce.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.