Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf called on President Trump to condemn what he called “unconscionable” violence at the Capitol while saying he intends to stay on in his post.
“What transpired yesterday was tragic and sickening,” Wolf said in a statement Thursday morning. “While I have consistently condemned political violence on both sides of the aisle, specifically violence directed at law enforcement, we now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends. This is unacceptable.”
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Wolf, who became acting head of the agency in 2019, was reacting to the riots in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, in which Trump supporters who had attended a rally featuring the president then stormed Congress as it was certifying the Electoral College vote.
Four people died, including one person who was shot to death, and at least 62 were arrested amid the chaos that saw lawmakers evacuated and the certification delayed. Lawmakers later returned to certify the Electoral College vote.
“These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday,” Wolf said.
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An hour after Wolf released his statement, the White House announced the withdrawal of Wolf’s nomination to be DHS secretary in a nonacting capacity.
Trump had nominated Wolf in August to take the position he has held in an acting capacity since 2019. The Senate Homeland Security Committee had advanced the nomination and it was awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.
“Chad has done an outstanding job and we greatly appreciate his service!” Trump said in August.
A vote to confirm Wolf at this stage would be largely symbolic, considering that he will be replaced after President-elect Joe Biden takes office later this month.
However, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told Fox News Thursday that the withdrawal occurred on Wednesday and was “not related at all to Wednesday’s events or the Acting Secretary’s comments this morning.”
“Acting Secretary Wolf remains the acting secretary and continues to perform the duties of his office,” he said.
While a number of officials have stepped down after the violence on Wednesday, Wolf said in his statement that he was intending to stay on in his post “to ensure the Department’s focus remains on the serious threats facing our country and an orderly transition to President-elect Biden’s DHS team.”
Wolf’s criticism came as former Attorney General William Barr called Trump’s conduct a “betrayal of his office and supporters.”
Barr said that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”
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Meanwhile, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews, East Wing Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham and Social Secretary Rickie Niceta all submitted their resignations.
Late Thursday morning, a senior administration official told Fox News that Matt Pottinger, deputy national security adviser, resigned Wednesday afternoon as a result of the president’s actions and the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Mick Mulvaney — special envoy to Northern Ireland and Trump’s former chief of staff — on Thursday also resigned, telling CNBC: “I can’t stay here.”
The FBI is asking for help identifying individuals who may have been involved in violent conduct or rioting. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit http://fbi.gov/USCapitol.
Fox News’ David Spunt, Caitlin McFall and The Associated Press contributed to this report.