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Chad Wolf. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he will nominate acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to be the permanent head of the agency.

Why it matters: It's been more than 500 days since a Senate-confirmed secretary led the Department of Homeland Security — a record for any administration.

  • Wolf himself has served in an acting role since November 2019, taking over from acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan. Kirstjen Nielsen, who resigned in April 2019, was the last Senate-confirmed DHS secretary.
  • Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office found that Wolf and his acting deputy Ken Cuccinelli are ineligible to serve in their positions because the administration did not follow federal law governing how certain leadership vacancies can be filled.

The big picture: Wolf has led the department through a tumultuous period, including riots in Portland that prompted the administration to deploy DHS agents to protect the city's federal courthouse.

  • Democrats have accused the Trump administration of orchestrating federal crackdowns in Portland and other Democrat-led cities, through DHS and the Justice Department, as part of an effort to burnish President Trump's "law and order" image ahead of his re-election campaign.
  • In response to Wolf's nomination, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters in a call on Tuesday, "I think given his past action, he is an awful choice."

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Stef Kight: Although some hardliners were skeptical of Wolf’s commitment to Trump’s immigration agenda when he was chosen to lead the agency as acting secretary late last year, he has consistently been supportive of Trump— no more clearly than in his repeated defense of sending federal agents into Portland.

Flashback: Sen. Kamala Harris, now Joe Biden's running mate, grilled Wolf on the agency's deployment of federal agents in Portland during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing earlier this month.

HARRIS: "Have you discussed deployments with any of the president’s campaign staff?"
WOLF: "No."
HARRIS: "Has party affiliations come up in conversations with anyone about the deployments?"
WOLF: "Not in my conversations. … I'm not going to comment on any specific conversations with the president."

Go deeper: Watch "Axios on HBO's" interview with Wolf earlier this month

Go deeper

Biden transition names first Cabinet nominees

Tony Blinken at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in 2016. Photo: Pool / The Embassy of the United States of America in Baghdad/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his nominations for top national security positions in his administration, tapping former Secretary of State John Kerry as his climate czar and former deputy national security adviser Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: Haines, if confirmed, would make history as the first woman to oversee the U.S. intelligence community. Biden also plans to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to become the first Latino secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Microwave energy likely behind illnesses of American diplomats in Cuba and China

Personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba in Havana in 2017, after the State Department announced plans to halve the embassy's staff following mysterious health problems affecting over 20 people associated with the U.S. embassy. Photo: Sven Creutzmann/Mambo photo/Getty Images

A radiofrequency energy of radiation that includes microwaves likely caused American diplomats in China and Cuba to fall ill with neurological symptoms over the past four years, a report published Saturday finds.

Why it matters: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's report doesn't attribute blame for the suspected attacks, but it notes there "was significant research in Russia/USSR into the effects of pulsed, rather than continuous wave [radiofrequency] exposures" and military personnel in "Eurasian communist countries" were exposed to non-thermal radiation.

Georgia governor declines Trump's request to help overturn election result

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp pushed back on Saturday after President Trump pressed him to help overturn the state's election results.

Driving the news: Trump asked the Republican governor over the phone Saturday to call a special legislative session aimed at overturning the presidential election results in Georgia, per the Washington Post. Kemp refused.