President Donald Trump said on Friday that acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was stepping down and a new acting chief of the agency would be named next week.
McAleenan became the fourth person to lead the agency under Trump in April after the Republican president asked for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Before becoming acting secretary, McAleenan served as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, one of the agencies operating under the Department of Homeland Security.
“Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector,” Trump said on Twitter.
“I will be announcing the new Acting Secretary next week. Many wonderful candidates,” he said.
According to The Washington Post, McAleenan was frustrated with Trump’s appointments to senior immigration roles, and with his own standing in the administration. He was never formally nominated for the job.
“What I don’t have control over is the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time,” McAleenan said in an interview with the Post. “That’s uncomfortable, as the accountable, senior figure.”
The Post reported that McAleenan was more isolated in recent weeks after the exits of several top aides and close allies. In addition, his relationships have been strained with other senior figures, especially Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, and Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Post reported.
Trump installed McAleenan, 48, at the head of DHS after removing then-secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, saying he wanted someone “tougher” in the role.
His tenure at DHS included the implementation of several contentious border policies that have significantly tightened access to the asylum system — policies he has defended as necessary to “restore integrity” to an immigration system with a backlog of nearly 1 million pending cases, the Post reported.