Can a Trump administration staffer have it all?
That’s what Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state and former head of Trump’s spurious voter fraud commission, will find out.
He wants a high-powered job, and plenty of time with his family. Kobach reportedly put in a detailed request about the conditions under which he’d take a job as immigration czar, a role that Trump has been floating to coordinate immigration policy across disparate government agencies.
The list includes, according to the New York Times:
- Walk-in access to the Oval Office
- Guaranteed weekends so he can spend time with his family
- Round-the-clock access to a jet (which he’d need to get to the border every week and back home to Kansas)
- A staff of seven reporting to him
- The highest salary afforded to a White House aide
- Guaranteed nomination to secretary of Homeland Security in November
The list reportedly made the rounds in the White House, and even Trump staffers were taken aback at Kobach’s presumptuousness, according to the Times.
Kobach previously worked as an adviser for immigration hard-liner Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, and led Trump’s voter fraud commission, which sought to prove that millions of undocumented immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election (they didn’t).
Kobach also helped to write a 2010 law, passed in Arizona, that required cops to check the immigration papers of anyone they thought might be an undocumented immigrant.
More recently, Kobach lost his race for Kansas governor in 2018 to Laura Kelly, a Democrat.
After Kirstjen Nielsen resigned as head of DHS, Trump reportedly approached Kobach about succeeding her. The Times reports that Kobach presented the president with a detailed plan to crack down on asylum seekers, which Trump has repeatedly claimed are making “frivolous” claims about their need to be sheltered in the U.S. GOP senators, meanwhile, warned that Kobach wouldn’t be confirmed as DHS secretary if Trump chose to nominate him.
But the immigration czar position wouldn’t require Senate confirmation, and Kobach is seeking influence over cabinet officials who have, at times, tried to push back on Trump’s immigration agenda.
The other guy in the running for the immigration czar gig is reportedly Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the former Virginia attorney general. He’s an immigration hardliner, too: Cuccinelli advocated for denying citizenship to the kids of undocumented immigrants born in the U.S. and allowing lawsuits against employers who knowingly employ undocumented immigrants instead of U.S. citizens.
If the immigration czar thing doesn't pan out, Kobach has other plans lined up. He’s said to be mulling a run for Senate in Kansas, which has some national Republicans concerned due to his hardline views on immigration.
Cover: President Donald Trump, left, embraces Kansas Secretary of State and current Republican candidate for Kansas governor Kris Kobach during President Trump’s MAGA rally held in Landon Arena in Topeka, Kansas, October 6, 2018. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)