Who Will Permanently Fill the DHS Secretary Job?

By Dan Cadman on August 9, 2017

In a July 31 blog, I commented on the shift of Secretary John Kelly from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to White House chief of staff, noting that this leaves behind his second-in-command, Elaine Duke, to act in his stead — something that concerns me insofar as Duke is a veteran Obama State Department employee with a background in management, not operational matters.

Writers at Politico apparently see things differently. They recently wrote that "POLITICO interviewed more than a half dozen former DHS officials, and all had high praise for Duke, who was TSA's first deputy assistant administrator for acquisition. ... Duke is viewed as having a wealth of institutional knowledge, particularly when it comes to management and operations. A DHS spokesman said last week that department employees feel like they are in 'good hands' with Duke."

In another article, they write that she "is being venerated by lawmakers in both parties, including a powerful Democrat who says she would like to see her there permanently. ... 'I think she'll be great at that job,' said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, calling her a 'consummate professional' who doesn't bring political baggage to the job. 'I hope she's considered for the Cabinet position.'"

"Venerated"? Odd choice of words, especially since the only one going on record is Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

The Washington Examiner echoes McCaskill's keen interest in getting the DHS secretary job permanently filled, though it's a bit more circumspect about Duke as replacement, noting that the Republicans have no nominee.

Buyer beware!

If McCaskill's so keen on Duke, it should be a warning sign to anyone interested in seeing the many immigration-related priorities articulated by the Trump administration addressed comprehensively and in the foreseeable future. As I have noted before, NumbersUSA scores McCaskill on immigration matters at a dismal D-.