Just a day after President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was officially beginning work towards the construction of the wall that he has long proposed be built along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, the head of the U.S. Border Patrol has stepped down.
The now former Border Patrol head and former FBI agent Mark Morgan’s last official day in office will be next Tuesday. However, an official with the Border Patrol, speaking anonymously to the AP, said that staffers at the agency had been informed of Morgan’s departure last Thursday.
An anonymous Department of Homeland Security official told Reuters on Thursday that Morgan, according to information that he’d shared with this official in a Thursday morning conference call, was asked to leave by officials from the Trump administration. He did not resign of his own accord.
Morgan has openly clashed with Trump’s agenda on multiple occasions, long refusing, for example, to go along with the endorsement of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign dished out by the national border patrol officers’ union.
In turn, the Union has fought Morgan at “every turn” throughout his only seven months in office. Morgan, who is the first person to come from outside the Border Patrol and take up leading the agency since it was founded almost 100 years ago, was called “arrogant and a disgrace to the Border Patrol” in an op-ed published at Breitbart News on November 30 by the Executive Board of the National Border Patrol Council.
One of the occasions that saw the Border Patrol officers’ union take up verbal arms against Morgan was when he testified before the U.S. Senate that he supported a “comprehensive immigration overhaul.” The AP says that such a phrasing is often interpreted to include a path to amnesty/ citizenship for immigrants currently living here illegally.
Morgan worked to rectify what he said was a misunderstanding about his views being in support of a path to amnesty, writing shortly after that December 1 Senate hearing in a note to border patrol staff:
‘I want to be clear what my position is regarding immigration reform. I do not, as some have suggested, support what is often referred to as “blanket amnesty.” This assertion could not be further from my position. I encourage everyone to listen to my testimony.’
Morgan’s efforts, however, did not improve the view of him held by various interests aligned with those he was tasked to lead.
The announcement about Morgan’s departure from the Border Patrol comes on the same day that it was announced that the U.S. State Department lost all of its top management staff. The initial reports that the departed staff had resigned in disgust over the Trump administration rather than simply left as a part of the transition into a new presidential administration’s era were disputed by State Department Spokesman Mark Toner.
Another senior State Department official added:
‘These people are loyal to the secretary, the President and to the State Department. There is just not any attempt here to dis the President. People are not quitting and running away in disgust. This is the White House cleaning house.’
However, the departure of Mark Morgan from the Border Patrol is distinctly less amicable at first appearance.
Featured Image via ALFREDO ESTRELLA/ AFP/ Getty Images