Trump's attempt to mold the DHS into his own image is backfiring.
Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson slammed Trump at a hearing on Wednesday for engaging in a policy of creating "chaos" at the Department of Homeland Security through his purges of personnel.
"This chaos appears to be by design," Thompson said, adding that the purge was "orchestrated by a president who wants to be able to remove the department's leadership on a whim."
Thompson cited as evidence a February 3 quote from Trump, in which Trump stated, "I like acting [sic] because I can move so quickly. It gives me more flexibility."
Trump has been engaged in a systematic purge of senior officials at DHS over the last month. Most notably, he got rid of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen along with Secret Service head Randolph "Tex" Alles.
Along with the top DHS and Secret Service posts, positions currently left unfilled with permanent replacements include Customs and Border Protection commissioner, Federal Emergency Management Agency director, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement director.
Other positions in the department, such as chief financial officer, undersecretary for management, and inspector general, are also unfilled.
Thompson explained that "the president wants more people who have not gone through the confirmation process, because they are more beholden to him and more likely to carry out his controversial policies without question."
But Trump's plan means "the department, its mission, and ultimately the American people" suffer, Thompson said.
Even Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee were forced to admit that Trump has left a gaping security hole in the system.
"The number and length of these vacancies is definitely a problem," Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) confessed.
Rep. John Katko (R-NY) even conceded that Trump's theory that a purge allows him more power to act was flawed. "The notion that acting is going to be better — I don't think that it is," Katko said.
Trump needs power to ram through his unpopular agenda, which is largely centered on the drive to demonize immigrants and build a racist wall. The path toward this goal moves through the Department of Homeland Security, which is why Trump has made them a major target of attack.
If having permanent or no leaders in security positions makes the country vulnerable, Trump doesn't care. He just wants to get what he wants.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.