Trump Fires Homeland Security Director Who Debunked Election Misinformation
After repeatedly disputing Donald Trump's election misinformation, the director of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Chris Krebs, was fired by the president via Twitter.
In a pair of tweets announcing Krebs' outster on Tuesday night, Trump pointed to Krebs contradicting him over the election as a reason for the termination.
"The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate," the president wrote, going on to against insist without providing proof that there were "massive improprieties and fraud" involved in the election he lost to Joe Biden.
"Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency," the tweets, which were each marked with a "disputed" label by Twitter, continued.
Though Krebs reportedly expressed suspicions for months that he would be fired, he is said to have officially learned of his termination from reading the president's tweet. (He would not be the first: Trump has a habit of announcing personnel decisions on social media.)
Krebs tweeted shortly after his dismissal that he was "honored to serve," adding, "We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow [sic.]"
As the Associated Press reported, Krebs — who fell into the crosshairs of an administration that has more and more publicly begin to dismiss aides who displease the president — had not shied away from defending the security of the election while trying not to insult his boss, who appointed him to oversee CISA in 2018.
Krebs had been "issu[ing] a stream of statements and tweets over the past week attesting to the proper conduct of the election and denouncing the falsehoods spread by the president and his supporters — without mentioning Trump by name," the AP reported.
CISA also set up a digital "Rumor Control" center to reassure voters about safeguards against election interference and to debunk what it called "mis- and disinformation" around voting, such as allegations of ballots cast by dead people.
In a video shared on the "Rumor Control" page, Krebs said that he was "confident that American voters are going to decide the 2020 election and you should be too, so get out there and vote with confidence and help us protect 2020."
Members of Congress from both parties criticized Trump's choice, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, issuing a statement calling it a "shameful charade" that distracts from focusing on the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The President’s insistence on distracting and dividing the country by denying his defeat in the election undermines our democracy ... Instead of stooping to this dangerous and shameful charade, Trump needs to get serious about crushing the accelerating pandemic that has killed nearly 250,000 Americans, infected over 11 million people in our country and devastated the livelihoods of tens of millions more," Pelosi's statement read, in part.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said Krebs "did a really good job — as state election officials all across the nation will tell you — and he obviously should not be fired."
Following the Nov. 3 election, which Biden won by a margin of 290-232 electoral votes (while Georgia undergoes a recount), Trump began claiming that the election had been "stolen" from him.
He also claimed that numerous fraudulent votes had been cast for Biden, despite offering no evidence to back up those allegations. He likewise attacked some of the voting machines certain states used.
A group of leading federal and state election officials attempted to correct that disinformation with a joint statement released last Thursday.
"The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double checking the entire election process prior to finalizing the result," read the statement from The Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees.
"There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised," the statement continued, in boldface type.
Trump's lack of a concession while he fights the election — while not technically required to allow Biden to come to power — has nonetheless stymied the transfer of power that is customary for all outgoing presidents.
This week Biden said that the lack of coordination could hamper a vaccine distribution plan to target the novel coronavirus.