White House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report

White House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report
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White House officials in recent days have reportedly been discussing possible replacements for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) head Brock Long.

The Wall Street Journal reports that senior officials have discussed replacing Long, who was appointed to the position last year by President TrumpDonald John TrumpForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Lara Trump: Merkel admitting migrants 'one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany' Financial satisfaction hits record high: survey MORE, due to an investigation into the FEMA chief's potential misuse of federal resources.

A White House official told the Journal that chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE has decided to leave Long in place until a final report on his conduct becomes available. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on Friday.

It was reported earlier this week that Long is facing an inspector general investigation over his use of government vehicles and staff to drive him from his office in Washington, D.C., to his home in North Carolina. Staffers were then put up in hotels at taxpayer expense. 


The investigation involved surveilling Long as he was driven along the more than six-hour commute, according to the Journal. The investigation has found that Long often travels with a caravan of federal workers and has spent roughly 150 days in North Carolina since taking the job in June 2017. 

Politico reported this week that Long was told last year that his trips violated the law and that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenDemocratic Party chief: Trump is 'compromised' Hillicon Valley: Facebook expects up to B FTC fine | DHS face scanning at airports sparks alarm | New Twitter tool targets election misinformation | Lawmakers want answers on Google 'Sensorvault' Dems accuse White House of caving to Trump's 'ego' on Russian meddling MORE asked him to consider resigning.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general is also probing communications between Long and a FEMA contractor that may include discussions about future employment, a source told the Journal. 

The reported investigation comes as FEMA prepares its response to Florence, a hurricane bearing down on the Carolinas that was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday.

“At this time, we are fully focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and the storms in the Pacific. The Secretary is confident in the leadership at FEMA and their proven disaster management ability,” DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement to The Hill on Friday.

Misuse of government resources has come back to haunt past Trump administration officials.

Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Six Interior officials under ethics investigation | EPA chief failed to disclose former lobbying client | Greens ask Wheeler to back up claim that climate change is '50 to 75 years out' EPA head asked to back up claim that climate change is '50 to 75 years out' Overnight Energy: Flint residents can sue EPA over water crisis | Environmentalists see victory with Green New Deal blitz | March global temperatures were second hottest on record | EPA told to make final decision on controversial pesticide MORE was forced to resign in July over government spending that included purchasing first-class flight tickets and using charter and military jets for personal purpose. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceOvernight Health Care: CEO of largest private health insurer slams 'Medicare for All' plans | Dem bill targets youth tobacco use | CVS fined over fake painkiller prescriptions | Trump, first lady to discuss opioid crisis at summit HHS inspector general stepping down from watchdog role Ex-GOP lawmaker Handel to run for her former Georgia seat in 2020 MORE also resigned last year over his use of private and military jets.