Acting DHS secretary says he didn't know naturalization ceremony would be part of GOP convention

Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfSunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Liberal watchdog group files ethics complaint over Boebert's reimbursements Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides MORE said Sunday that he didn’t know the naturalization ceremony that he conducted last week would be featured during the Republican National Convention.

ABC’s Jon Karl pressed Wolf on whether he was aware that the ceremony, during which the acting secretary naturalized five new American citizens, would be aired as part of the GOP convention. 

Wolf initially defended naturalization ceremonies as a “legitimate role for the department to do,” saying the department conducts “hundreds, if not, thousands of them every year.”

He said he has participated in several with President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE and Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceCPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' The Memo: CPAC fires starting gun on 2024 MORE and called the ceremony an “official event at the White House.” 

“But, sir, respectfully, that was not my question,” Karl responded. “My question was, did you know when you took part in that ceremony that it was going to be used that night at the Republican convention?”

“No,” Wolf answered. “What I knew is again, participating in a naturalization ceremony, we had a number of [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service] employees there, as they do every naturalization ceremony, making sure that that ceremony goes off without a hitch.”

“They were giving that oath of allegiance to those individuals there,” he added. “And again, we’ll continue to do that, because that's our mission at the department.”

House Democrats announced they would look into whether the acting secretary violated the Hatch Act by appearing with Trump to conduct the ceremony during the convention. 

The Hatch Act forbids executive branch employees from promoting political interests while on duty. 

Two of the women featured in the naturalization ceremony told The Wall Street Journal the day after it aired that they did not know their ceremony was part of the convention, although they added that they didn’t mind it being shown.