- Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley has been increasingly critical of President Donald Trump and his administration in recent weeks.
- Grassley’s latest rebuke of the Trump administration comes after the ousting of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen and the broader shakeup of the agency she’s leaving.
- “The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign, throughout his two and a half years of presidency,” Grassley said on Monday.
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President Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, one of the most powerful members of the Senate, are in a bit of a tiff at the moment.
Grassley has quite publicly gone against Trump several times over the past two weeks, increasingly putting himself at odds with the president.
Last week, Grassley referred to Trump as “idiotic” after the president suggested that wind turbines cause cancer.
Subsequently, Grassley said he supported releasing special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference. Trump initially said he was OK with the report being released, but more recently said those calling for it to be made public are a “disgrace.”
The latest disagreement stems from the ousting of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen and the broader shakeup of the agency she’s departing. Grassley spoke out against the churn within the Trump administration and took jabs at one of his senior advisers – Stephen Miller.
Grassley told The Washington Post that those who’ve been removed from Homeland Security, as well as those who are reportedly on the verge of being asked to leave, are “good public servants.”
“Secondly, besides the personal connection I have with them and the qualifications they have, they are the intellectual basis for what the president wants to accomplish in immigration,” the senator added.
Grassley said he was “very, very concerned,” in particular, over reports that Lee Francis Cissna, the director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, will be part of Trump’s purge of the agency.
“The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign, throughout his two and a half years of presidency,” Grassley said. “He’s pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.”
Speaking on Miller, the senator added, “I think it would be hard for him to demonstrate he’s accomplished anything for the president.”
Grassley was asked by The Post to expand on his comments about Miller, to which he responded, “It’s pretty hard to elaborate on it when there hasn’t been any accomplishments.”
Miller has been the architect of the more extreme aspects of Trump’s immigration agenda and was reportedly central to decision making behind Nielsen’s ousting.
When asked about Grassley’s concerns with the departures, a spokesperson said that the senator raised the issue with members of the White House.
“Sen. Grassley hasn’t spoken to the president directly on this issue but has expressed his concerns to White House staff,” Michael Zona, Grassley’s communications director, told INSIDER.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.
The Iowa senator is the president pro Tempore of the Senate, which makes him the second highest-ranking official in the chamber and third in line to succeed to the presidency after the vice president and House Speaker.
Grassley has been in the Senate since 1981 and wields significant influence in Washington and in the GOP, which makes his public rebukes of a Republican president notable.
Trump’s approach to governing has often put him at odds with members of his own party, and top Republicans have spoken out against him on everything from US policy toward Saudi Arabia to his decision to declare a national emergency to obtain funding for a border wall.
Grassley initially spoke out in opposition of Trump’s national emergency and warned of the precedent it would set, but ultimately voted against a resolution to block the emergency declaration. A dozen Republicans voted in favour of the measure, directly contradicting the president’s position.
The senator’s issues with Trump only seem to be escalating, and given his influence this could translate into more tension between the president and Republicans in Congress – especially as Trump moves to implement his overhaul of the US immigration system.
Grassley’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.
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