Sen. Claire McCaskill didn’t mince words Wednesday about the possibility of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach becoming Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general.
“I know too much about Kris Kobach. There’s no way I could ever support him,” said McCaskill, D-Mo. “As a former prosecutor, there’s no way I could ever support him for attorney general.”
Kobach could be a candidate for attorney general in the Trump administration. He already has Trump’s ear as a member of his transition team and adviser on immigration matters.
McCaskill said Kobach “fashioned some of the most unconstitutional immigration laws around the country, most of which have been thrown out by the courts.”
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Kobach’s spokeswoman, Desiree Taliaferro, would not comment on whether Kobach was being considered for attorney general, nor would she respond to McCaskill’s criticism.
Kobach was the architect of one of the nation’s toughest immigration laws, an Arizona measure that he drafted while he was a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Arizona’s 2010 SB1070 law mostly requires law enforcement officers to demand to see papers of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.
I’m sure there’s many of President Trump’s appointments that I’ll support, but I know too much about Kris Kobach. There’s no way I could ever support him
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Critics said the law encouraged racial profiling. The law has faced several legal challenges, and many of its provisions have been struck down.
Kansas, at Kobach’s urging, adopted a requirement that voters must provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, when they register to vote.
That law has been challenged at the state and federal levels. A state judge earlier this month struck down a law that would have blocked people from voting in state and local elections unless they provided proof of U.S. citizenship.
Kobach told Reuters that he regarded “the decision as wrong…and this decision stands in the way of protecting our elections.”
McCaskill said the idea of Kobach becoming attorney general “is frightening to those of us who’ve watched him in his career.”
“You want someone in that job who respects the power of the office and doesn’t use the office for an ideology as opposed to respecting the law,” she said. “I think he would like to fashion the law by how he enforces it rather than how the law is intended.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, a member for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, called Kobach “a terrible” potential pick for attorney general.
“He’s an ideologue for extremism when it comes to immigration policy in this country,” Gutierrez said. “Here’s what Kobach doesn’t believe in – he doesn’t believe in immigration. He doesn’t believe in any.”