President Donald Trump followed the ouster of his Homeland Security secretary with another pink slip on Monday, reportedly axing the director of the U.S. Secret Service. Trump ordered acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to fire Randolph ‘Tex’ Alles. CNN first reported the move.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee Cissna is also leaving, according to CBS News. So are DHS undersecretary for management Claire Grady and general counsel John Mitnick.
A person with knowledge of USCIS’s front office, however, said late Monday that Cissna was still in his job. And Alles told his agency’s staff that he wasn’t forced out.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Alles ‘has done a great job at the agency over the last two years, and the President is thankful for his over 40 years of service to the country.’
Alles wrote in a message to his agency that ‘[n]o doubt you have seen media reports regarding my “firing.” I assure you that this is not the case, and in fact was told weeks ago by the Administration that transitions in leadership should be expected across the Department of Homeland Security.’
The change at Secret Service comes on the heels of an embarrassing episode at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort club in Palm Beach, Florida, involving a Chinese national on a club guest list who was arrested with devices bearing computer malware. Secret Service punted responsibility to Mar-a-Lago’s private security
Shoving Alles overboard and driving others out signals the growing authority of Trump adviser Stephen Miller, the 33-year-old former staffer to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions. Alles, Cissna, Grady and Mitnick were on a list of officials Miller targeted for removal as ‘too soft,’ accoding to a White House official.
A White House source with knowledge of the West Wing’s goings on in the past week told DailyMail.com on Monday that Miller had advocated internally for Nielsen’s firing, and for Alles to follow her out the door.
Miller is known as a sharp-tongued promoter of hawkish immigration policies that Democrats have complained push the boundaries of federal law and too often challenge court precedents.
Trump fired Nielsen in a tweet on Sunday shortly after meeting with her in the White House residence and hearing her plan for bringing U.S. immigration in line with legal boundaries.
Federal law dictates that as the third most senior Homeland Security official, Grady should have become ‘acting secretary’ after Nielsen’s departure since the number two position is vacant.
Grady’s decision to leave is significant because Trump chose to appoint U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to manage the department until he nominates a permanent secretary.
By quitting now, Grady avoided what could have been a messy fight over who would emerge in charge on Thursday, the first full day after Nielsen leaves on April 10.