Ardent Trump supporters have been perplexed by and distraught over their president’s puzzling habit of appointing members of the very Swamp establishment they so resoundingly rejected in 2016 to key posts in his administration. From neocon National Security Advisor John Bolton to Jeb Bush donor Kirstjen Nielsen as Secretary of Homeland Security, President Trump has placed people fundamentally opposed to his stated agenda in positions crucial to enacting the very policies he has championed.
Time For Toughness
Former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach has stated his keen desire to take over at DHS and seems to be a slam-dunk perfect fit for the post. “He’s got an important decision to make,” Kobach told the Washington Examiner about the president’s options. “If he wants to have me serve in this capacity, and thinks it would be the best thing for the country, I would certainly do so.”
Kobach has long trumpeted a get-tough border security policy and has garnered the support of prominent immigration reduction groups like NumbersUSA, which said in a statement that “Kris Kobach is, without question, the best choice to lead DHS, and we hope he will be President Trump’s nominee.”
There is good reason for such sentiment. Kobach has a specific plan to regain control over our calamitous border and there is nothing nuanced about it. In an op-ed for Breitbart News on April 4, he detailed a “three-step” solution to the crisis. His third point strongly echoes the language that got Trump elected to the White House in 2016:
“Publish a proposed Treasury regulation that prohibits the sending home of remittances by people who cannot document lawful presence in the United States. This will hit Mexico in the pocketbook – Mexico typically brings in well over $20 billion a year in remittances, raking in more than $26 billion in 2017. Then tell the government of Mexico that we will finalize the Treasury regulation unless they do two things to help us address the border crisis: (1) Mexico immediately signs a ‘safe third country agreement’ similar to our agreement with Canada. This would require asylum applicants to file their asylum application in the first safe country they set foot in (so applicants in the caravans from Central America would have to seek asylum in Mexico, rather than Canada); and (2) Mexico chips in $5 billion to help us build the wall.”
Ignore the RINOS
It is unsurprising that Republican establishment figures who no doubt have enjoyed seeing their Swamp comrades take up Trump administration posts in the past immediately expressed alarm over a Kobach selection. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) from Kobach’s home state clumsily tried to sabotage the buzz via a whispered aside to what he apparently hoped would be a complicit media member. “Don’t go there. We can’t confirm him,” Roberts confided to The Kansas City Star when asked about Kobach.
“I never said that to you,” Roberts then coyly told the reporter. The 82-year-old senator, who is finally retiring in 2020 after serving in Congress continuously since 1981 and as a senator since 1997, could not have been more transparent in his attempt to scuttle Kobach’s viability.
It’s somewhat interesting then that Roberts immediately backtracked after his quote was reported, tweeting out an explanation of how “difficult” it is to confirm Trump nominees in a U.S. Senate that, he fails to mention, is after all controlled by the GOP.
— Senator Pat Roberts (@SenPatRoberts) April 9, 2019
The conditional endorsement of Kobach in Roberts’ tweet rings every bit as hollow as former House speaker Paul Ryan’s flagrantly duplicitous October 2018 declaration that “we intend on having a full-fledged discussion on how to complete our mission to secure the border and yes, we will have a fight about this” in December, one month before he was to leave Congress. Ryan, of course, put up no fight at all and Trump’s cherished border wall is still waiting to be properly funded.
Donald Trump was elected to be a change president. The single biggest change the people who voted for him want is a firmly secured southern border. Trump should ignore the shenanigans of an already-embalmed Republican establishment that has no popular base of support whatsoever and boldly move to keep his promises to the people who elected him. Appointing a strong hand to deal with our border crisis is essential to this effort. The president’s MAGA Army will enthusiastically embrace a Kris Kobach DHS nomination. If GOP dinosaurs reject him, there will be hell to pay.
Those backing Trump don’t believe that defending our border is a job to be trusted to a D.C. insider – and they want to see that their president understands that. Kobach seems like just the person for the job, and another head-scratching Swamp appointee here could prove disastrous to Trump’s standing with the loyal voters who have stood so staunchly behind him since the golden summer of 2015.