The resignation of acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf occurs at a complicated scenario for federal law enforcement officials as they prepare for possible violent attempts to interfere the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. The FBI warned that Pro-Trump militants have called for armed crowds to gather at all 50 state capitols.
According to the Washington Post, in one of his final moves as acting secretary Monday, Wolf announced that the U.S. Secret Service would take over security preparations for the inauguration on Wednesday, six days ahead of schedule.
The Secret Service, a Department Homeland Security (DHS) entity, typically plays the lead security role at presidential inaugurations. This year, as many as 15,000 National Guard troops will be mobilized to protect the event.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Chairman of the DHS Committee, called Chad Wolf’s decision to step down Monday “questionable.”
“He has chosen to resign during a time of national crisis and when domestic terrorists may be planning additional attacks on our government,” Thompson said in a statement. “Unlike others, he is apparently not leaving the Trump Administration on principle.”
Trump installed Chad Wolf as acting secretary more than a year ago, after the resignation of Kevin McAleenan, who also served in an acting role. Trump, who repeatedly said he prefers leaving Cabinet members in “acting” roles because it makes it easier for him to remove them, finally nominated Wolf in August, but his confirmation went nowhere, despite Republicans’ control of the Senate.
An AP report pointed out that Wolf’s departure followed the abrupt resignation of other Cabinet officials angered by Trump’s role in encouraging the mob to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 over his false claims of election fraud.
Chad Wolf condemned the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, calling it “tragic and sickening.” He also said then he would stay on at DHS until the end of the administration to ensure a smooth transition and to help the department stay focused on the threats facing the nation.
It was unclear what prompted him to change course with the nation braced for the potential for more violence ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration. The FBI has warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C