President Barack Obama‘s choice to replace Janet “Big Sis” Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security has some questioning just how qualified the nominee is to run such a vast agency.
The president nominated former Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson (pronounced “Jay”) on Friday, Fox News reported.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Obama described Johnson as a tested leader with a vital focus on national security, according to Fox News, saying, “Jeh has a deep understanding of the threats and challenges facing the United States.”
As for Johnson’s qualifications, he was a big-time Democratic donor — he gave more than $33,000 to help elect Obama – and worked on the president’s campaign in 2008. And he’s a lawyer. Johnson was born on Sept. 11 and was in Manhattan when the twin towers were attacked by Islamic terrorists, if that helps any.
While it remains to be seen to what extent Johnson supports and defends the U.S. Constitution, his loyalty to President Obama is without question, as he made clear while speaking of that fateful day in 2001.
“When that bright and beautiful day, a day something like this, was shattered by the largest terrorist attack on our homeland in history, I wandered the streets of New York that day and wondered, and asked, ‘What can I do?’” Johnson said Friday. “Since then, I have tried to devote myself to answering that question. I love this country. I care about the safety of our people. I believe in public service. And I remain loyal to you, Mr. President.”
Obama’s selection is already drawing opposition.
“It would appear that the president plans to nominate a loyalist and fundraiser to this post,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said in a statement, according to Fox News.
“This is deeply concerning,” Sessions said. “This huge department must have a proven manager with strong relevant law enforcement experience, recognized independence and integrity, who can restore this department to its full capability.”
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also criticized Johnson as an Obama crony, saying the department needs someone better versed in immigration law enforcement, the Washington Times reported.
“We need someone who knows how to secure the border, not dial for dollars,” Cornyn said.
Overall, Johnson has contributed more than $100,000 to Democratic candidates and groups, according to Fox News. Besides donating to Obama directly, he also donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential primary campaign in 2008, and he supported U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., among others.
As general counsel at the Defense Department, Johnson was involved in ending the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gay service members, and he oversaw the escalation of the use of unmanned drone strikes during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.