Chad Wolf To Resign At Midnight As DHS Jump Starts Biden Inauguration Prep

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf speaks during a press conference on the actions taken by Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security agents in Portland during continued protests at the US Customs and Border Patrol headquarters on July 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chad Wolf
Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf speaks during a press conference at the US Customs and Border Patrol headquarters on July 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

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Within a couple hours, Trump had withdrawn Wolf’s pending nomination to fill the DHS job permanently, making his legal situation even more complicated.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. 

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: