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Would-be ‘czar’ Exiled

May 23, 2019 GMT

Talk about chutzpah. Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state who helped lead the inane Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, delivered a list of 10 demands to the White House to be met if he were to assume the role of President Trump’s immigration czar, a position under consideration but yet to be created. The most revealing demand is that Kobach “serve as the face of Trump immigration policy — the principal spokesman on television and in the media,” according to the list obtained by the New York Times. Sounds more like the face of naked ambition. Kobach also sought to extract a promise for a future appointment as secretary of homeland security “unless Kobach wishes to continue in Czar position.” Read that as, “I’ll see which job gets me more public exposure and decide then.” He also wants 24-hour access to DHS or Defense Department jets to ferry him back and forth to the border and home to Kansas on weekends “unless POTUS needs Czar elsewhere.” Remember, similar trips home on the taxpayers’ dime (on commercial flights) helped end Scott Pruitt’s tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency. And access to planes for nonpublic business isn’t new for Kobach either. Oh, and Kobach wants to be hired at the highest salary level, have “walk-in privileges” to the president and a seven-member staff (including, naturally, his own media relations person). One other item on the list: that the president “sits down individually with Czar and the secretaries of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, Ag, Interior, and Commerce, and tells each of the Secretaries to follow the directives of the Czar without delay, subject to appeal to the President in cases of disagreement.” Uh huh. Perhaps Kobach’s next demand will be: “Mr. President, could you sit on the couch for a bit while I move in behind your desk?” Kobach has established himself as such a fringe figure that even the Trump-embracing Republican Party doesn’t want him around. He’s made rumblings about running for a U.S. Senate seat from Kansas, a specter that has prompted national party leaders to prepare a “stop Kobach” strategy. Kobach got shellacked by Democrat Laura Kelly in his bid for the governor’s job last year in a state where Republicans hold a 2-1 registration advantage. SCOTT MARTELLE writes for the Los Angeles Times.