President Donald Trump considered naming Kris Kobach as Secretary of Homeland Security last summer, according to NBC News.
The Kansas secretary of state had already launched his campaign for governor. The NBC report means Kobach remained on Trump’s radar despite his state-level campaign and previous statements that he had turned down multiple White House jobs to remain in Kansas.
Trump wanted to consider Kobach to replace John Kelly after he left as secretary of Homeland Security to become White House chief of staff, NBC reported Monday. Kelly provided Trump with two names for consideration: Kobach and Kelly’s deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen.
Trump picked Nielsen, but later came to believe Kelly had manipulated the process so that he would pick Nielsen, NBC reported, citing three current and former White House officials.
A spokesman for Kobach’s campaign declined to comment.
Kobach said in June he had turned down two offers to join the Trump White House. When Kelly left Homeland Security in July, Kobach’s name circulated unofficially as a possible choice to replace Kelly.
Kobach has long courted Trump. He says he has advised Trump on immigration policy, and the two men met shortly after the 2016 election. Kobach was photographed outside that meeting holding a plan for the Homeland Security agency.