The head of the White House personnel office had to tell President Trump last week that his top two choices to become acting homeland security secretary aren’t eligible for the role, The Wall Street Journal reports. Sean Doocey, White House Presidential Personnel Office chief, told Trump in a Friday meeting that neither acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services head Ken Cuccinelli nor Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan would be able to lead the Department of Homeland Security without Senate confirmation. Doocey reportedly told Trump that former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is legally considered to be the last secretary because she wasn’t an “acting” secretary like departing Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. Because Cuccinelli and Morgan were both installed in their roles after Nielsen’s departure, they are not qualified to be next in line for the position.
The White House is reportedly considering Nielsen’s ex-chief of staff Chad Wolf, Transportation Security Administration head David Pekoske, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency head Chris Krebs to serve as acting homeland security secretary. The White House has not commented publicly on the matter.