Trump purges Homeland Security in midst of his 'national emergency'


It seems like the wrong time for Trump to be on a firing spree at the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump made the leadership vacuum at the Department of Homeland Security even worse on Monday when he fired Randolph "Tex" Alles, the head of the Secret Service.

Trump's reasons for ousting Alles are not clear, but the New York Times reports it is in part because of the recent incident at Mar-a-Lago that ended in a Chinese national with spy equipment being arrested.

With Alles exit, there are now numerous top positions in the department either in transition or without a Senate-confirmed person occupying it.

Alles' firing comes a day after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was pushed out by Trump. And the New York Times reports that several other top leaders, including L. Francis Cissna, the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and John Mitnik, the agency's general counsel, are expected to leave the agency soon.

According to NBC, Homeland Security does not have Senate-confirmed leaders in the following key positions: secretary, deputy secretary, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator, Secret Service director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director, and inspector general.

The FEMA director position has been vacant since February despite the start of hurricane season, July 1, quickly approaching.

The dearth of appropriate leadership comes in the midst of Trump's fake national emergency at the border.

In mid-February, Trump declared a fake national emergency after Congress refused to provide billions of dollars for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The announcement followed 35 days of Trump holding the government hostage, refusing to sign any funding bills unless Congress paid a $5.7 billion ransom. In the end, Trump caved, but then immediately declared a national emergency, pledging to steal money from military families in order to fund the border wall.

During his tenure in office, Trump has described the situation at the border in increasingly alarming terms, including calling it an "invasion." In late March, Trump escalated his rhetoric and threats, saying he would close the U.S.-Mexico border unless Mexico stopped all illegal immigration coming into the United States.

Yet in the midst of this so-called emergency, which is allegedly so severe that he threatened to close the border, Trump has regularly traveled to his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, to relax and play golf. Trump has done little to show he is serious about a national security threat from the border. He can only really be relied on to make outrageous, and often racist, comments about immigration.

And now, he is clearing out the top officials in Homeland Security and leaving the agency in charge of immigration and national security without solid leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.