President Trump said Friday he has elevated Chad Wolf to be acting secretary at Homeland Security, putting him in charge of perhaps the administration’s most critical portfolio.
Mr. Wolf was an aide to former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was ousted this spring as Mr. Trump sought a tougher policy from the department when it came to pushing for immigration changes.
The president did not give any sense whether Mr. Wolf would also be nominated to the position.
“Well he’s right now acting and we’ll see what happens. We have great people in there,” the president said.
The White House had been exploring ways to name Ken Cuccinelli, currently the acting chief of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to the top department job, but personnel lawyers said he was not qualified in the line of succession to be acting secretary.
Mr. Wolf is currently acting under secretary for strategy, policy and plans, which under the Vacancies Act means he is able to serve. The department lacks a confirmed head to many of its key agencies.
Since Ms. Nielsen’s departure the secretary’s position had been held, on an acting basis, by Kevin McAleenan, who made major strides in reeling in record numbers of illegal immigrant border jumpers.