US Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles will leave his post shortly, the White House has said.
The announcement, made by President Donald Trump‘s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Monday, comes a day after the resignation of another top national security official, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
“United States Secret Service director Randolph ‘Tex’ Alles … will be leaving shortly and President Trump has selected James M Murray, a career member of the USSS, to take over as director beginning in May,” Sanders said in a statement.
Her remarks confirmed earlier reports by US media, but Sanders did not elaborate on the circumstances of his departure.
The Associated Press news agency, citing three unnamed administration officials, reported that Alles’s departure stems from a personality conflict within the agency.
The officials added that the departure is unrelated to the resignation of Nielsen, as well as a recent security breach at the president’s private club in Florida.
CNN, citing multiple administration officials, reported that Trump instructed his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to fire Alles.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Secret Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters news agency.
‘Near systematic purge’
Alles’s departure comes amid a spate of turnover across DHS that began last week when President Trump withdrew his Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director’s nomination to stay on permanently.
One official described the firings to CNN as “a near-systematic purge” at the DHS. The Secret Service director reports to the director of Homeland Security.
Nielsen, who oversaw Trump’s bitterly contested immigration policies during her tumultuous 16-month tenure, resigned on Sunday amid a surge in the number of migrants at the border with Mexico.
A senior administration official said Trump, who has recently expressed growing anger about the situation at the border, asked for Nielsen’s resignation.
During her time at the head of the powerful agency, Nielsen became synonymous with the controversial policy of separating children from their parents, leading to frequent calls for her resignation from progressive groups and the Democratic opposition.
Nielsen is expected to stay in her post until Wednesday. Trump said Kevin McAleenan, the current US Customs and Border Protection commissioner, will become acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
After Nielsen’s departure, an empowered Stephen Miller, the immigration hawk White House senior adviser, is also eyeing the removal of Lee Francis Cissna, according to two of the people, the Associated Press reported. Cissna is the director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which runs the immigration system.
Trump, seeking re-election in 2020, has taken a hard line towards immigration since becoming president in January 2017, and the issue may be a central theme in next year’s election.
Al Jazeera and news agencies