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 NielsenTop immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Juan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America 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 TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE supporting the appointment of former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.


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 MillerThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Top immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign New green card restrictions likely would've excluded Trump and Cuccinelli's ancestors 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 faces crucial decisions on economy, guns Are Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' 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 GrahamPelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid Graham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid 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.