Report: Kobach made demands to be Trump's 'immigration czar'

Some in administration surprised by list

By Eli Watkins, CNN
CNN

Kris Kobach

Former Kansas GOP Secretary of State Kris Kobach gave the White House a list of demands for perks, status and authority if he were to accept the role of "immigration czar," The New York Times reported Monday.

Kobach's demands included a promise for Trump to nominate him to be head of the Department of Homeland Security by November of this year -- provided Kobach did not want to instead continue in the czar role -- as well as around-the-clock access to a government jet and generally being able to take weekends off at his home in Kansas.

The Times said three people described the demands to the paper and that some people in the Trump administration were surprised by the "presumptuousness" of Kobach's list.

According to the Times, Kobach also demanded to be the main television spokesman for the administration on immigration, a guarantee of deference from Cabinet secretaries on immigration and symbols of top White House status, including a staff of seven, being able to walk into the Oval Office at will and a commensurate title "at the highest pay level" for White House senior staff.

Kobach has been among the most prominent supporters of Trump's hardline approach to immigration and national security. Shortly after Trump's election, Kobach was photographed holding a document labeled his "strategic plan" for the first year of the Trump administration, and early on into Trump's presidency, Kobach was named the head of the since-defunct commission on voter fraud, which Trump formed after making repeatedly debunked claims about illegal voting.

CNN previously reported that the White House was considering appointing a "border or immigration czar" and that Kobach was under consideration for that role.

Kobach also emerged as a potential choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security after the ouster of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last month. He said in an April interview on Fox Business Network that it was "possible that the White House might want a border czar," but said at the same time that the position might not be necessary depending on who led DHS.

Kobach lost a bid for governor last year to Democrat Laura Kelly, which was the first statewide loss for a Republican in the reliably red state of Kansas in almost a decade.

CNN's Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report.

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