Former acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said in a statement Wednesday that President Donald Trump bears some responsibility for last week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“The president’s words matter and they do,” Wolf told ABC News. “He certainly has some level of responsibility for at least the words that he said.”
“I’ve talked about my disappointment in wishing that he had come out sooner to condemn the violence and just talk more vocally about that,” he added.
NEW: I talked to former Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, and he told me that president’s words matter and on last Wednesday “he certainly has some level of responsibility for at least the words that he said.” https://t.co/OdenKzCQMH
— Luke Barr (@LukeLBarr) January 13, 2021
Wolf announced his resignation Monday, citing “recent events” and “meritless court rulings” about his authority as acting secretary. Wolf previously issued a statement Jan. 7 condemning the actions of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol and calling on the president to do the same.
“This is unacceptable,” he said. “These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday.”
Wolf defended the actions of Capitol Police and said the Homeland Security Department was prepared for the worst. Federal and local law enforcement have been criticized for what some described as a failure to effectively respond to the riot, according to CNN.
“Leading up to the sixth we had multiple coordination calls,” he told ABC News. “We knew about this threat. We knew about 25 to 35,000 people that were coming to the district.”
Wolf did not comment whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office over the Capitol riot, telling ABC News he would defer to members of Congress on the issue as he is not a lawmaker. (RELATED: House Votes To Impeach President Trump For The Second Time)
“If certain individuals or the Congress wants to take the action that they’re taking today, I believe, regarding impeachment, that that’s their right, that’s their prerogative. I think that’s the appropriate channel,” he said. “If they want to, address that issue with the president, whether it’s impeachment, whether it’s censure.”
But the former acting secretary also said he thought impeachment was a more appropriate process than invoking the 25th Amendment, which some members of Trump’s Cabinet reportedly discussed.
“I think that’s the appropriate venue versus the 25th Amendment,” he said on impeachment. “I think the 25th Amendment is exceptional circumstances. The vice president outlined that.”