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Utah senators respond to recent administration departures

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – There’s been some major movement this week among national security officials in the Trump Administration.

The high-profile departures are leading to concerns, as some call it a purge.

The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the director of the Secret Service are both out.

President Trump has also pulled his nominee for director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney addressed the exit of Kirstjen Nielsen at a Homeland Security Committee meeting a few days after the president announced her departure.

“I must admit I am, I’m sure like many other people, deeply troubled by the vacancies at the Department of Homeland Security and the transition process,” said Romney, (R) Utah.

Senator Romney says the timing is especially troubling.

“I think it is dangerous given what’s happening at the border, dangerous given the broad responsibility that the Department of Homeland Security has for protecting our nation,” Romney said.

ABC4 News also asked Utah’s senior senator, Mike Lee about the issue. He has a different tone than Senator Romney.

“Anytime there is a vacancy at a high level of government there is cause for concern. We want to make sure that those positions are filled in a timely manner and by the right people,” said Lee, (R) Utah.

Senate Democrats point the finger at the top.

“What he’s done by these constant firings, constant change of policy is simply created chaos,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, (D) New York.

Lee says some want to make it about the president, but the turnover in government is nothing new.

“Sure, there is some turnover happening now, it’s not necessarily a huge statistical aberration from what we’ve seen in previous administrations,” Lee said.

The president has tapped Kevin McAleenan, a top official at Customs and Border Protection, to take over at DHS as acting secretary.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Glen Mills

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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...
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