Trump expected to tap Cuccinelli for new immigration post

Trump expected to tap Cuccinelli for new immigration post
© Stefani Reynolds

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' 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.

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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 MillerIn DACA ruling, Supreme Court ignores Trump's racial bias The Memo: Trump's Tulsa decision sparks new race controversy George Conway group targets Trump over 'blatant racism' in new ad 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 CruzOh, Canada: Should the US emulate Canada's National Health Service? Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott Trump says he'll sign order with 'road to citizenship' for DACA recipients 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 McConnellHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Ernst: Renaming Confederate bases is the 'right thing to do' despite 'heck' from GOP Advocacy groups pressure Senate to reconvene and boost election funding 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 NielsenThe Seila Law case: Liberty and political firing Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 Sen. Kennedy slams acting DHS secretary for lack of coronavirus answers 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 KushnerTrump: 'Shouldn't be hard' for Kanye West to take away votes from Biden Trump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' On The Money: Supreme Court upholds NY prosecutors' access to Trump's tax returns, rebuffs Congress | Trump complains of 'political prosecution' | Biden rebukes Trump, rolls out jobs plan MORE that was seen as an effort to soften his image on the contentious issue.

—Updated at 4:08 p.m.