President Trump on Friday rescinded the nomination of Ron Vitiello to lead United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"Ron's a good man, but we're going in a tougher direction," Trump said.
The decision reportedly took U.S. lawmakers and Homeland Security officials by surprise, per The Washington Post. Vitiello, in fact, was supposed to accompany the president on his trip to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday, but was alerted on Thursday that he would not be making the journey. ICE leadership at first believed there was a clerical error in the trip's itinerary.
But Trump reportedly had been going back and forth on his decision to nominate Vitiello in the first place for months. He was influenced by complaints from senior adviser Stephen Miller and ICE union boss Chris Crane, White House aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity said. Per CNN, Miller told Trump that Vitiello was not in favor of fully shuttering the southern border as Trump has threatened to do.
Vitiello has advocated for Trump's immigration policies, but he has refrained from making "bombastic" public statements about enforcement matters.
In a letter to agency employees, Vitiello thanked the president, the Senate Homeland Security Committee chair Ron Johnson, and members of Congress.