Capito said she was “disappointed” and flummoxed by Trump’s personnel choices: “I can’t explain it.” Others had been more blunt.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) known as Trump’s move a “terrible mistake,” including that Krebs is “an extraordinary talent who does a superb job overseeing the protection of our cyber capabilities.”
The firing also set off renewed issues that the president would spend his final weeks within the White House impulsively ousting officers who crossed him and making erratic coverage shifts that would not be simply undone.
“It’s the president’s prerogative, but I think it just adds to the confusion and chaos,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters. “And I’m sure I’m not the only one that would like some return to a little bit more of a — I don’t even know what’s normal anymore.”
In reality, few Republicans took concern with Krebs in any respect. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a sturdy supporter of the president, said Krebs did an “outstanding” job in his position because of the lack of international interference within the 2020 marketing campaign.
Krebs’ firing comes amid a purge of senior officers seen as insufficiently loyal to the president, who’s actively stopping President-elect Joe Biden and his transition staff from starting the transfer of energy. Defense Secretary Mark Esper was the first to go, and there are broader fears Trump might fire CIA Director Gina Haspel or FBI Director Christopher Wray next.
“If it looks like there’s just a flurry of them, it will raise more questions,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) acknowledged.
And while Republicans are expressing some concern with the strikes, they also acknowledge there may be little they will do to stop the president in his final 63 days in workplace.
“Look, I think we’re at a period in time, the president has a decision who he wants to have in office and who he doesn’t have in office,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said of Krebs. “From everything I saw, it appeared that he did an able job in a difficult and important role.”
Some GOP senators on Wednesday had been reluctant to criticize Trump’s decision to fire Krebs, even as they praised his work atop CISA.
“The president doesn’t get to pick who works in my office. So we may have an opinion on our interactions with these individuals but at the end of the day the president gets to pick who serves in the executive branch,” said Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Trump fired Krebs in a tweet that continued his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud and pushed back on a recent assertion by Krebs and different top officers asserting that the Nov. 3 election was “the most secure in American history.” Without proof, Trump said that assertion was “highly inaccurate” and, “therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated.”