Acting DHS chief's top aide resigns amid White House tensions: report

Andrew Meehan, a top aide and spokesman to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, will reportedly leave the department amid friction between it and the White House.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE reportedly is suspicious of McAleenan, who served as deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under then-President Obama from 2014 to 2017 before Trump nominated him to head CBP, as well as his inner circle.

"Meehan, who was in Panama in advance of the secretary's visit during the Flores rollout, made the decision to leave government a couple of weeks ago," a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told Axios.

ADVERTISEMENT

The White House has also been increasingly frustrated by what it views as the botched DHS rollout of a proposal to reverse the Flores Settlement Agreement, which limits how long the government may detain minors with their parents, according to Axios, citing sources with direct knowledge.

Administration officials reportedly feel McAleenan missed an opportunity by announcing the policy shift at the Reagan Center in Washington, D.C., rather than a location that would have drawn more media attention.

"[McAleenan] could have been on all the TVs if he wanted to. But not everybody's taking live coverage from the Reagan Center at the last minute. At some point something has got to go right at DHS with their messaging and rollouts,” a senior official told Axios.

Trump himself was also irritated with coverage of raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in July, specifically Breitbart and New York Times stories reporting only 35 of the 2,000 migrants targeted had been detained.

The president reportedly has no intention of nominating McAleenan for permanent DHS head and has far more positive views of acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli and acting ICE Director Mark Morgan, both of whom frequently appear on television to defend his immigration policies.

The Hill has reached out to the White House and DHS for comment.