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Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf. Photo: GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf called on the president to condemn the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol Thursday, describing the events in a statement as "tragic and sickening."

The latest: About 90 minutes after the statement, the White House withdrew Wolf's nomination to the Senate to be confirmed as DHS secretary in a permanent capacity. The move has little practical implication, as there has not been a Senate-confirmed head of the agency since Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April 2019.

What he's saying: "We now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends," Wolf said. "This is unacceptable. These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday."

  • "After a challenging and saddening 2020, it’s time for every American to respect each other and the rule of law in 2021."
  • The condemnation comes as the FBI has asked for public help in identifying people who took part in the insurrection.

Worth noting: Wolf said he would remain in his position until the end of the administration to ensure an orderly transition to his replacement.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 8: The siege

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 8: The siege. An inside account of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that ultimately failed to block the certification of the Electoral College. And, finally, Trump's concession.

On Jan. 6, White House deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger entered the West Wing in the mid-afternoon, shortly after his colleagues' phones had lit up with an emergency curfew alert from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue"

President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but stressed that confronting Beijing's human rights and trade abuses "will never be traded" for climate cooperation.

Why it matters: The last few years have brought about a bipartisan consensus on the threat posed by China. But as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, China will be a vital player if the world is going to come close to reining in emissions on the scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.