Why Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS

Why Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS
© Stefani Reynolds

President Donald Trump’s border security agenda has been frustrated by a host of Washington insiders. Indeed, the failure to fund the southern border wall when the GOP-controlled both chambers of Congress during Trump’s first two years in office was a colossal political and national security failure.

With the need to replace now-gone Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official MORE as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 36 conservative movement leaders including Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, former Sen. Jim DeMint, Al Regnery, Brent Bozell, Ginni Thomas, Jenny Beth Martin and I sent a letter last week to President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE supporting the appointment of former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

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Cuccinelli not only is a favorite of many constitutional conservatives, but he’s perfect to carry out Trump’s agenda at DHS. He has synergy with Trump as a no-nonsense immigration hawk. Like Trump, Cuccinelli is a strong law-and-order Republican; yet, both showed wisdom leading the charge to pass and enact the bipartisan, landmark criminal justice reform bill called the First Step Act.

Among the assets Trump would find with Cuccinelli is his ability to clearly articulate conservative positions even in a liberal-dominated television environment. As a CNN analyst, Cuccinelli was always outnumbered, but he never backed off articulating the principled conservative side of things.

The former Virginia attorney general knows how to run an agency and carry out policy. As a superb constitutional attorney, Cuccinelli easily articulates the bases of the correct positions on issues such as national sovereignty, birthright citizenship and proper criminal detention.

Trump’s trusted senior policy adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerJuan Williams: Stephen Miller must be fired CNN's Cuomo tries to discredit Trump on overhearing conversations without speakerphone More than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign MORE and Cuccinelli are on the same page when it comes to the policies overseen by DHS, so there would be little if any internal dispute about the Trump agenda. This is particularly important for those who understand that personnel is policy.

The biggest obstacles for Trump and Cuccinelli would come from the Washington political and media establishments. But that is particularly why Cuccinelli is a perfect fit for Trump. Both understand the value and importance of being disruptors, and both are seen as threats to the “Swamp.” It’s part of their charm.

What will intensify the deep state’s opposition to Cuccinelli — and what Americans should particularly admire about him as a law enforcement figure — is his understanding of, and dedication to, enforcing the Fourth Amendment. Particularly when it comes to mass surveillance by government, more commonly called spying, Cuccinelli has been a champion of our rights. Trump’s first-hand experience with being the victim of deep state spying may make him appreciate Cuccinelli’s Fourth Amendment expertise all the more.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Schumer briefs Democrats on impeachment trial 'mechanics' Trump legal team gears up for Senate impeachment trial in meeting with GOP senators MORE has already expressed opposition to Cuccinelli, who as president of the Senate Conservatives Fund led primary challenges to K Street-controlled, establishment Republicans. McConnell, therefore, may have a grudge, but one not based in Cuccinelli’s fitness for the job. McConnell has claimed that Cuccinelli would be difficult to confirm.

Trump, however, has newfound command in the post-Mueller investigation period that the Senate majority leader may be seriously underestimating. Trump survived an unprecedented barrage of political and media sabotage — a soft coup, to be more precise. Now unencumbered, Trump will be the dominant political force in America going into the 2020 elections. Just ask Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans GOP member urges Graham to subpoena Schiff, Biden phone records Trump legal team gears up for Senate impeachment trial in meeting with GOP senators MORE 2.0.

The path of least resistance that McConnell professes as his basis for concerns about a Cuccinelli confirmation is not what will please Trump and his base. Americans are afraid we are losing our country to the radical left and an invasion of illegal immigrants. McConnell’s path of least resistance will be seen as weakness and an impediment to the strength that is part of Trump’s brand.

By picking Cuccinelli, Trump would send a strong signal that he and his Make America Great Again agenda are in charge, no matter what McConnell may want. The senator should look at his own poll ratings to understand that he and his Senate majority should put on their MAGA hats and back Cuccinelli for DHS secretary, because they need Trump.

Richard A. Viguerie is chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, and has been called the “funding father of the conservative movement” for pioneering the use of direct mail fundraising in political and ideological spheres. Follow him on Twitter @RichardViguerie.