Government & Politics

Kris Kobach appears to miss out on top Homeland Security job

President-elect Donald Trump, and Kris Kobach posed for a photo last month at the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club, in Bedminster Township, N.J. Kobach was carrying papers that included plans for the Department of Homeland Security.
President-elect Donald Trump, and Kris Kobach posed for a photo last month at the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club, in Bedminster Township, N.J. Kobach was carrying papers that included plans for the Department of Homeland Security. TNS

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s quest for a post with the Donald Trump administration appeared to hit a speed bump Wednesday.

Trump picked retired Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security, according to several published reports. The official announcement is expected next week.

Kobach was believed to be a finalist for the Homeland Security job. Kobach, who serves as an informal adviser to the president-elect, met with Trump last month to discuss homeland security concerns.

The Kansas Republican did not respond to messages and phone calls about the Kelly pick.

The decision does not mean Kobach’s chance to join the administration is gone. Several outside groups continue to lobby for the controversial Kansan, whose outspoken views on immigration and voter rights are well known in conservative circles.

In a news release, the Federation for American Immigration Reform applauded the Kelly pick, but it also said Kobach should remain under consideration for a job with the Trump administration.

“Kris Kobach has decades of hands-on experience working both in the administration and with communities on the front lines of illegal immigration,” said Dan Stein, FAIR’s president. “He’s an incredibly sharp constitutional lawyer who understands the law, and knows exactly what needs to be done to quickly regain control of the nation’s borders.”

Some liberal groups are critical of FAIR’s positions on immigration.

If Trump appoints Kobach to a lower post in the department — and if Kobach accepts — the incumbent secretary of state would still require confirmation in the Senate.

In his meeting with Trump last month, Kobach was photographed carrying plans for the Department of Homeland Security into the meeting. The apparent security mistake may have hurt his chances with the administration.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is also believed to be under consideration for a position with the Trump administration. State Republicans said Wednesday they had not heard whether such an appointment would be forthcoming.

Lindsay Wise: 202-383-6007, @lindsaywise

Dave Helling: 816-234-4656, @dhellingkc

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