Trump referred to current acting DHS chief as 'an Obama guy' during heated meeting: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE reportedly referred to then-Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief Kevin McAleenan, who was appointed acting Homeland Security secretary last week, as an “Obama guy” during the government shutdown, according to Axios.

Trump made the remark early in January during a meeting between himself, then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenOvernight Energy: Mueller report reveals Russian efforts to sow division over coal jobs | NYC passes sweeping climate bill likened to 'Green New Deal' | EPA official says agency may ban asbestos | Energy Dept. denies Perry planning exit The Hill's 12:30 Report: Inside the Mueller report Energy Dept denies report that Rick Perry is planning to leave Trump admin MORE, congressional leaders and administration staff, according to the site. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars MORE (D-Calif.) reportedly told Nielsen she believed her characterization of the immigration situation along the U.S.-Mexico border was politically motivated, according to Axios.


Nielsen told Pelosi that McAleenan, whom she called a “career professional,” agreed with Nielsen’s assessment. When Pelosi said McAleenan was also a Trump loyalist, Trump responded that “he’s an Obama guy," according to Axios.

Trump intended his characterization to mean McAleenan “has credibility on the issue and worked in another administration,” a senior White House official told the publication.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement, "It is a statement of fact that this administration has used false statistics in an effort to support their anti-immigrant policies that are creating a massive humanitarian challenge at the border."

McAleenan became deputy CBP commissioner under the Obama administration in 2014 before becoming acting commissioner in January 2017 and being confirmed as commissioner that May. He previously served in the CBP under the George W. Bush administration before leaving for private consulting and returning to the agency in 2010. Trump announced he had been named acting DHS secretary after Nielsen's resignation last Sunday.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.