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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan steps down

12 October 2019

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is stepping down from that position, President Trump announced Friday night. 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 now serves as head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

"Congratulations Kevin, on a job well done!"

McAleenan previously served as commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection after having served as acting commissioner since the beginning of the Trump administration.

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"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.

In fact, McAleenan's star had waned considerably within Trump's orbit of late.

He was seen as a level head who could effectively manage the border crisis but, like many other former administration officials who came before, Trump eventually soured on him.

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As Peter Baker of the New York Times notes, McAleenan's resignation means that his replacement will be President Trump's "fourth homeland security secretary in less than three years". But in an interview with The Washington Post last week, he complained about the "tone, the message, the public face and approach" of the nation's immigration policy.

McAleenan took over for Kirstjen Nielsen in April 2019. The president's signature issue makes the department his focus and his ire.

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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan steps down