Customs and Border Protection chief Chris Magnus is facing growing internal criticism over his handling of the department, Politico reports.
Five current administration officials told Politico that Magnus is “unengaged” in his job, frequently misses White House border meetings, “badmouths” other agencies and has not built relationships across agencies to address border concerns.
“They complain he is unfamiliar with some of the operations of CBP and instead is focused primarily on reforming the culture of the Border Patrol, addressing its long list of allegations of racism and violence,” Politico reported.
Some of the sources complained that Magnus has tried to shift the blame on the situation at the border on other agencies.
“He’s not in the game,” one administration official told the outlet. “Every time there’s a meeting and he’s in it, we’ll get to a conclusion and Magnus will have some sidebar issue that he wants to raise and we’re all like ‘What the fuck is that about?’”
Accused of falling asleep:
Six sources told Politico that they saw Magnus “fall sleep during multiple meetings,” including a meeting earlier this year on how to address the influx of migrants from Venezuela at the border.
Magnus told Politico that he experiences tiredness as a symptom of his multiple sclerosis.
“Ironically, the most common complaint I’ve received from colleagues is about my tendency to ask too many questions in meetings and my desire to know what some believe is more than necessary on various topics,” he said, adding he intends “to remain fully engaged in the work of leading CBP and advocating on behalf of those who work here as well as for the American public.”
Magnus pushes back:
Magnus told Politico that he’s spent his 10 months in office getting up to speed on the agency’s “many complex areas” and said he is “closely involved in the major DHS immigration, border security, trade, and other policy discussions.”
“I’ve always been someone who aggressively questions the status quo, looks for ways to do things better, and engages directly with the public and workforce,” he said. “In any organization, some people are threatened by this. They don’t like it when someone questions ‘why’ certain things must be done the way they’ve always been done. I’m not here to back down to the predictable challenges from those people.”