The top official at the Department of Homeland Security will resign effective at midnight, according to a letter to DHS personnel shared with TPM.
Chad Wolf had just hours earlier announced that he would move up the security planning for Joe Biden’s inauguration. The prep work will now begin on Wednesday rather than Tuesday next week.
FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor will become acting DHS secretary with just days left in President Donald Trump’s term, Wolf’s letter said.
Wolf was out of town, in Qatar, when Trump supporters bum rushed the Capitol last week.
Unlike Wednesday’s events, Biden’s inauguration is designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE) — meaning that the Secret Service, which is housed within DHS, takes charge of security.
Wolf on Monday said he moved up the start date of NSSE operations “in light of events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration.”
Wolf’s status as acting DHS secretary has been the subject of numerous legal challenges, and multiple judges have found him to be in violation of the laws governing “acting” or fill-in secretaries, moving DHS to attempt various bureaucratic schemes to address the issue.
After the raid on the Capitol last week, Wolf issued a statement imploring “the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday.”
Within a couple hours, Trump had withdrawn Wolf’s pending nomination to fill the DHS job permanently, making his legal situation even more complicated.
In a letter to DHS personnel obtained by BuzzFeed News Monday, Wolf said he was “saddened” to step down, “as it was my intention to serve the Department until the end of this Administration.”
“Unfortunately,” he said, “this action is warranted by recent events, including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary.”
This post has been updated.