President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE is expected to hire former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for a new top job on immigration, a White House official confirmed on Tuesday.
The exact role is still being worked out, including its specific duties, but Cuccinelli is expected to be based at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the official said. No start date has been made public but the appointment could be announced as soon as this week.
Cuccinelli, who served as Virginia’s top law enforcement official from 2010 to 2014, shares similar views on immigration with Trump, who has been clamoring for his administration to get more aggressive in addressing what he calls a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
White House adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerDefense & National Security: The post-airlift evacuation struggle How Trump broke the system that offers protection to Afghan allies Sunday shows preview: Bombing in Kabul delivers blow to evacuation effort; US orders strikes on ISIS-K MORE, a vocal immigration hard-liner who helped trigger a personnel shake-up at DHS, is believed to support the choice, according to The New York Times, which first reported the move. Miller did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump has long been considering naming an immigration “czar” to coordinate his policies across federal agencies, but the official said Cuccinelli will not be filling that role.
Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, another hard-liner who was a contender for the job, reportedly turned off White House officials when he submitted a list of 10 demands in order to be considered for the post, including the use of a private jet to travel to the border and visit his family in Kansas as well as a promise to be nominated as permanent Homeland Security secretary.
Over the past few years, Cuccinelli has praised Trump on cable television but during the 2016 election he led an effort to strip Trump of delegates at the Republican National Convention on behalf of Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails The Memo: Like the dress or not, Ocasio-Cortez is driving the conversation again Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE (R-Texas).
Cuccinelli has also angered Senate Republican leaders for his leadership of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which has backed Tea Party challengers to sitting senators. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' Capito grills EPA nominee on '#ResistCapitalism' tweet Hassan launches first ad of reelection bid focusing on veterans' issues MORE (R-Ky.), who was targeted by the group in 2014, urged Trump not to pick Cuccinelli as DHS chief.
The job instead went to Kevin McAleenan, a career law enforcement official who replaced Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenEx-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' MORE last month on an acting basis.
Cuccinelli’s job at DHS is not expected to require Senate confirmation.
Trump during the past week has sent mixed signals on the issue of immigration. Last week, he announced a new visa plan authored by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHouse panel tees up Trump executive privilege fight in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE that was seen as an effort to soften his image on the contentious issue.
—Updated at 4:08 p.m.