Kris Kobach, a Kansas politician who was known for his hardline views on immigration even prior to the rise of President Donald Trump, has been seen throughout the Trump era as aspiring for a high-level position in the administration.
This week, The New York Times reported on what Kobach was allegedly demanding in order to win the job of “immigration czar” in the Trump administration.
The report, which cited three people who were familiar with Kobach’s demands, said the aspiring immigration czar demanded the following in order to take the job — an office in the West Wing of the White House, walk-in privileges with Trump, the rank of “assistant to the president,” a staff of seven, and the understanding that the attorney general and secretaries of defense, agriculture, homeland security, interior, and commerce would be told by the president to defer to him on matters of immigration.
Kobach also reportedly demanded 24/7 access to a government jet, the ability to spend weekends with his family in Kansas, a security detail, weekly visits to the border, the assertion that he was the public face of Trump’s immigration policy, and a guarantee that he would be nominated as secretary of homeland security by November 1, unless he chose instead to remain in the czar position.
That the list of demands Kobach allegedly made was leaked to the press could be an indication that he might not get the job.
Two years ago, Kobach, who had claimed for years as Kansas secretary of state that voter fraud was rampant in his state, was named as vice chairman of the Commission on Election Integrity, a Trump-appointed committee meant to investigate the president’s claims of massive voter fraud in the 2016 election. The commission was sued repeatedly, some states refused to cooperate with it, and it was disbanded in 2018 without ever issuing a report.
Election law expert Richard Hasen, per The New York Times, described Kobach as “a leader nationally in making irresponsible claims that voter fraud is a major problem in this country.”
In 2018, after eight years as secretary of state, Kobach ran for governor of Kansas, and while he defeated Republican incumbent Governor Jeff Colyer in the GOP primary, he lost in the general election to Democrat Laura Kelly. Kelly won in the red state after she was endorsed by several prominent Kansas Republicans.
In the early days of his administration, President Barack Obama appointed several “czars” who didn’t require Senate confirmation, leading to deep opposition from Republicans, per ABC News.