Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf speaks during a press conference on the actions taken by Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security agents in Portland during continued protests at the US Customs and Border Patrol headquarters on July 21, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has withdrawn his nomination of Chad Wolf to head the Department of Homeland Security, the White House announced Thursday.
The move from the president comes less than three hours after Wolf, who is the acting DHS secretary, urged Trump to “strongly condemn the violence” that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, calling the events “tragic and sickening.”
“This is unacceptable. These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday,” acting secretary Wolf wrote.
“Any appearance of inciting violence by an elected official goes against who we are as Americans. Every American is guaranteed the right to peacefully protest, but once those protests become violent, we should enforce our laws and bring those responsible to justice — regardless of political motivations,” he added.
In a tweet Wednesday, Wolf wrote that those who engaged in the rioting should be held accountable.
The White House denied that the withdrawal was linked to Wolf’s response to the unrest.
“The withdrawal occurred yesterday and was not related at all to Wednesday’s events or the Acting Secretary’s comments this morning,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said. “Acting Secretary Wolf remains the acting secretary and continues to perform the duties of his office.”
Trump, who incited the riot, has not condemned his supporters’ actions. Four people died amid the chaos. The White House on Thursday expressed sympathy over the deaths and injuries.
Trump’s term ends at noon Jan. 20.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. In his statement Thursday, Wolf said he would stay at the department through the end of the term.
“I will remain in my position until the end of the Administration to ensure the Department’s focus remains on the serious threats facing our country and an orderly transition to President-elect Biden’s DHS team,” he said.
A Department of Justice official told CNBC’s Eamon Javers that “a number of criminal charges” were expected to be announced on Thursday.