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Senate panel delays vote on Trump pick to lead ICE

Senate panel delays vote on Trump pick to lead ICE
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An important Senate committee on Wednesday delayed a vote on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE's pick to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ronald Vitiello.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R-Wis.), said the vote was being postponed so senators could practice "due diligence" over concerns raised by a coalition of unions representing ICE personnel, The Washington Post reports.

Johnson told the Post that “we’re just trying to rapidly go through the issues raised by the union and do our due diligence to get answers about it.” 

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The coalition, composed of 14 leaders of local chapters of the National ICE Council, wrote in a letter to the committee that the coalition "neither supports nor opposes" Vitiello, but notes that he has only been with ICE for "a short period of time" and that the unions "are aware of several matters that give us serious concern about him."

Johnson told the Post that the committee could vote as soon as Thursday on the nomination, which would then go to the Senate floor for a final confirmation vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee would also separately vote on Vitiello's nomination.

The unions wrote that they are concerned Vitiello would act as a "change agent," pointing to his handling, as acting director if ICE, of the aftermath of a lengthy protest at an ICE facility in Portland, Ore.

In addition, the unions wrote that Vitiello has criticized President Trump on social media, according to the Post.

The letter pointed to a private Twitter post Vitiello reportedly made comparing Trump to the cartoon character Dennis the Menace.

"This I can tell you! 100%," Vitiello reportedly wrote along with a side-by-side comparison of the two images. 

Trump was then a presidential candidate and Vitiello had been tapped to be Border Patrol chief.

The account that posted the Tweet, @VitielloRonald, is barred from public view and Twitter has not verified that it is Vitiello's, but he appeared to acknowledge it as his during a confirmation hearing in 2015, according to the Post.

The coalition of unions said the tweet "at best" showed "extremely poor judgment."

“Furthermore, we are concerned with what appears to be a political statement against the now President and the possibility that this Tweet represents Mr. Vitiello’s true feelings about the President and his plans for the agency,” the unions wrote.