Ex-DHS chief says Trump bears some responsibility for Capitol riots: 'What he says matters'

Ex-DHS chief says Trump bears some responsibility for Capitol riots: 'What he says matters'
© Greg Nash

Chad WolfChad WolfSunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect Biden, Trump battle over who's to blame for Afghanistan The border is shifting from a manufactured crisis to a national embarrassment MORE, who resigned this week as acting Homeland Security secretary, said that President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE had some "responsibility" for the Capitol riots that occurred last Wednesday.

"He's the President. What he says matters," Wolf told CNN in an interview Wednesday. "People listen to him — particularly supporters of his, I would say, really listen to him — so there is responsibility there."

He added that those rioting also bore responsibility and that the Congress would have to determine if Trump’s actions are worthy of impeachment.

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Wolf was the third person in Trump’s administration to step down after the violent attack on the Capitol.

"[I]f you're going to protest, you do that in a very nonviolent way. I'd like to have him speak, have him say that and just that," Wolf said. 

Wolf also called for all politicians to denounce violence, and referenced acts that took place at protests against police brutality this past summer. 

Wolf was nominated to be the acting Homeland Security secretary last August. He had come under criticism after a government watchdog determined Wolf was not legally qualified to hold the position.

Trump still nominated Wolf to be a permanent DHS secretary but withdrew the nomination shortly after Wolf said all elected officials including Trump should be condemning the Capitol riot.

The White House maintained that the decision to withdraw Wolf’s nomination occurred before his comments about the Capitol riot and was only made public afterward.  

“I was disappointed that the President didn't speak out sooner on that. I think he had a role to do that. I think, unfortunately, the administration lost a little bit of the moral high ground on this issue by not coming out sooner on it," Wolf said.