Stefani Reynolds

President Trump signaled Monday that he plans to nominate his acting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) chief Uttam Dhillon to fill the role permanently.

Trump praised Dhillon for doing a “great job” during remarks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s annual conference in Chicago on Monday, and said he would soon not be “acting.”

“Soon, Uttam will not be ‘acting.’ He’s done a great job. So he doesn’t know this yet, but soon you will not be acting. Congratulations,” Trump said.

{mosads}“Thank you, sir,” Dhillon replied.

Trump had invited Dhillon to the stage to briefly address the conference. Dhillon, a former White House lawyer, thanked Trump for his “constant and incredible support of our mission” and his support for law enforcement officers.

Dhillon, who is the third consecutive acting DEA administrator during Trump’s first term, would need to be confirmed by the Senate to assume the role on a permanent basis.

Dhillon has held the role in an acting capacity for more than a year, having been appointed in July 2018 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to replace outgoing acting DEA chief Robert Patterson. The first acting DEA administrator under Trump, Chuck Rosenberg, was a holdover from the Obama administration and stepped down after criticizing Trump.

Dhillon is one of several top Trump administration officials serving in positions in an acting basis. Two of those officials also joined the president during his appearance in Chicago on Monday: acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan and acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Matthew Albence.

Trump often says he likes having people in “acting” roles, asserting that it gives him more flexibility.

Dhillon moved to the Justice Department from the White House, where he served as a deputy counsel and deputy assistant to the president.

He previously served in the Department of Homeland Security’s counternarcotics office during the George W. Bush administration and before that as an associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department. 

Tags Donald Trump Drug Enforcement Administration Jeff Sessions
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