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DHS chief Kevin McAleenan resigns after six months

DHS chief Kevin McAleenan resigns after six months
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has resigned from the post, just days after his speech at Georgetown University was shouted down by protesters.

President Donald Trump announced McAleenan’s resignation via Twitter on Friday evening, saying the interim cabinet official wanted to “spend more time with his family and go to the private sector.”

McAleenan thanked Trump for opportunity to serve and touted the department's successes over his six months in the position. "We have made tremendous progress mitigating the border security and humanitarian crisis we faced this year, by reducing unlawful crossings, partnering with governments in the region to counter human smugglers and address the cause of migration," he said in a statement.

McAleenan made headlines earlier this week, when his attempt to speak at a conference about immigration was prevented by angry protesters at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. It is unclear whether that incident had anything to do with the resignation, however, as CNN reported – citing anonymous sources – that it has been in the works for several weeks.

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Formerly head of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), McAleenan stepped into the DHS job in April, after the surprise resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. He quickly found himself hounded by the media and Democrats, both opposed to Trump’s policies on immigration and securing the southern US border.

In an interview with the Washington Post, published on October 1, he complained that he does not control “the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time,” describing that as “uncomfortable” situation for the acting department chief. Trump had not nominated him to the post permanently, either.

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It was unclear whether McAleenan’s departure was effective immediately. While Trump said he would be nominating a new acting secretary next week, from “many wonderful candidates,” the position would normally pass to the current acting Deputy Secretary, David Pekoske – a retired US Coast Guard vice-admiral who currently serves as head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Homeland Security has been the cabinet post with the highest turnover in the Trump administration at this point. Nielsen had replaced her former boss, retired General John Kelly, who was confirmed by the Senate to the post in January 2017, but left in August to become the White House chief of staff.

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