President Trump took to Twitter late Tuesday to fire his top cybersecurity official via tweet for not toeing the line on his “rigged” election narrative.
“The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud - including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, ‘glitches’ in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more. Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,” Trump declared.
Krebs, who had set up a web page to counter disinformation about the security of the election, had reportedly been expecting to be fired after becoming one of the few in Trump’s administration to dispute his claims.
He reacted to his termination with a brief statement on his personal Twitter account: “Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow.”
His firing comes as more and more of the president’s allegations of voting discrepancies fall apart in court. Just hours before Krebs’ ouster on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled against the Trump campaign’s claims that observers were not able to properly monitor absentee vote-counting.
While the president has repeatedly tried to sound the alarm over supposed voting discrepancies that he claims robbed him of victory in the Nov. 3 election, officials have said there is no evidence to back up his assertions. Even the Trump campaign’s own lawyers, in their legal blitz to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, have struggled to present evidence of a “rigged” election in court; many of their legal challenges alleging voter fraud have collapsed when judges grilled them on their claims. In some cases, the evidence was deemed to be hearsay gathered via a “voter fraud” website. In others, Trump campaign lawyers admitted under questioning that observers were not blocked from monitoring the vote count as the complaint alleged.
Lawmakers responded to news of Krebs’ termination with praise for his work in protecting the election.
“Chris Krebs is a dedicated public servant who has done a remarkable job during a challenging time,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said in a statement. He went on to say the work of Krebs and his CISA team “should serve as a model for other government agencies” and was “essential in protecting the 2020 U.S. presidential election against threats of foreign interference.”
Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL) issued a joint statement calling Trump’s firing of Krebs “disturbing” and “antidemocratic.”
“The fact is that, since Election Day, President Trump has sought to delegitimize the election results by engaging in a disinformation campaign that could shatter public confidence in our elections for generations. Director Krebs put national security ahead of politics and refused to use his position to do the President’s bidding, so the President fired him,” they said.
“In firing Director Krebs for refusing to lend credibility to his baseless claims and conspiracy theories about voter fraud, the President is telling officials throughout the Administration to put his political interests ahead of their responsibilities to the American people.”
Back in 2018, while discussing cybersecurity and elections at the Atlantic Council, Krebs noted that the “overall purpose” of an election is “to convince the loser that they lost” so that “this peaceful transition of power” can take place. But the goal of “the adversary,” he noted, “is to undermine our confidence in the process.”
Just a few minutes after Trump fired off his tweet railing against Krebs, Twitter flagged it with a warning: “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
—Erin Banco contributed reporting