Former acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said President Donald Trump bears ‘some responsibility’ for the MAGA riot and said the punishment of impeachment was ‘appropriate.’
Wolf, who resigned from office Monday, talked to ABC News on Wednesday as Trump was getting impeached by the House of Representatives for a second time.
‘If certain individuals or the Congress wants to take the action that they’re taking today, I believe, regarding impeachment, that that’s their right, that’s their prerogative,’ Wolf told the network. ‘I think that’s the appropriate channel.’
Former acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said President Donald Trump bears ‘some responsibility’ for the MAGA riot and told ABC News he believed impeachment was the ‘appropriate’ recourse
President Donald Trump, photographed returning to Joint Base Andrews after his trip to the U.S.-Mexico border wall Tuesday, was impeached by the House of Representatives for inciting the riot on Capitol Hill last Wednesday
Wolf said he agreed with Vice President Mike Pence who said Tuesday night that the 25th Amendment, which House Democrats had urged him to pursue, wasn’t the right vehicle to use in this case.
‘I think the 25th Amendment is exceptional circumstances,’ Wolf argued.
Wolf did place some of the blame for the riot on Trump’s head.
‘The president’s words matter and they do,’ he said. ‘He certainly has some level of responsibility for at least the words that he said.’
Like a number of lawmakers have expressed, Wolf also wished the president would have acted sooner to quell the riot.
‘I’ve talked about my disappointment in wishing that he had come out sooner to condemn the violence and just talk more vocally about that,’ Wolf said.
Earlier Wednesday, the White House had released a statement from Trump – who’s been banned from major social media sites – urging groups not to do it again.
‘In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You,’ the Trump statement read.
Wolf also gave Trump a little wiggle room, pointing out the rioters ‘decided to partake in this or not.’
‘They act on their own accord and they decided to take criminal acts on their own, just like the individuals in Portland and around the country this summer,’ Wolf said.
Portland’s federal courthouse had been the site of racial justice protests.
Wolf said he didn’t blame politicians on the left for any violent incidents that occurred.
Acting DHS Director Chad Wolf sent out a statement to colleagues Monday announcing he was stepping down
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf stands in front of a new section of the border wall in October in McAllen, Texas. Wolf would have normally accompanied Trump to the border
Wolf implored the president and other elected officials to ‘strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday’ in a statement that he tweeted on Thursday before he announced his resignation Monday
Wolf left his office Monday, citing the legal battle over whether he can do his job.
His resignation came a day before the president visited the U.S.-Mexico border wall, a trip the DHS head would usually take.
In a note to agency workers, obtained by Fox News Channel, Wolf said he was quitting because of ‘recent events.’
‘Including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary,’ Wolf went on. ‘These events and concerns increasingly serve to divert attention and resources away from the important work of the Department in this critical time of a transition of power.’
He said that FEMA’s Administrator Peter Gaynor, who was Senate-confirmed, would take over DHS through the end of the transition.
Federal judges have ruled that Wolf’s appointment to the top position at DHS does not appear to be lawful because it didn’t follow the department’s order of succession.
Wolf had been nominated to hold the job full-time, but the White House announced it had pulled his nomination Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Wolf had been publicly pleading with the president to condemn the violence after the Capitol Hill siege.
‘What transpired yesterday was tragic and sickening,’ Wolf wrote in a statement then.
‘While I have consistently condemned political violence on both sides of the aisle, specifically violence directed at law enforcement, we now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends,’ Wolf said in a statement Thursday.
‘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,’ Wolf continued.
‘DHS takes the safety and security of all Americans very seriously—it’s at the core of our mission to defend our homeland. Any appearance of inciting violence by an elected official goes against who we are as Americans,’ Wolf added.
The White House’s announcement that Wolf’s nomination had been pulled first looked like retribution for the statement he made, but CNN later reported that it had technically been withdrawn Wednesday, because no further action in the Senate was expected.
Wolf said on Thursday that he would remain in his post ‘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.’
Other cabinet-level members of the administration have bailed, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20 and the Senate is out of session until January 19, so no future Trump nominees will be considered.