Report: White House considered replacing FEMA administrator

FEMA’s Long says he will reimburse for vehicle usage
FEMA Administrator Brock Long

The White House considered replacing Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, who is the subject of an ongoing Department of Homeland Security inspector general investigation, before Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Citing a source familiar with the matter, the newspaper reported that senior White House officials discussed replacing Long in the past several days, but chief of staff John Kelly ultimately decided to leave Long in his role until the internal watchdog’s final report was completed.

A senior official told the Journal that the White House has begun discussing potential replacements for Long, who has been on the job since June 2017.

A senior DHS official familiar with conversations on Long’s future told CNN, “He has never been asked to resign.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to comment to CNN on conversations about Long’s future, and referred questions to DHS.

DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton told CNN in a statement that the department is “fully focused on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from Hurricane Florence and the storms in the Pacific.”

CNN has reached out to FEMA. Through a spokesperson, Long declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal.

A senior administration official confirmed to CNN on Thursday that the inspector general’s investigation includes, but may not be limited to, travel using government resources, and that would include Long’s travel in government vehicles on the taxpayers’ dime. Politico was the first to report on the investigation’s existence.

Long said at a news conference Thursday morning that he will “fully cooperate” in an investigation into his alleged misuse of government resources for travel, an issue that has roiled several other former Trump Cabinet secretaries.

“I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly. Bottom line is if we made mistakes on the way a program is run, then we’ll work with the OIG to get those corrected,” Long said. “Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA, and it’s not part of my track record and my whole entire career.”

Administration officials told the Wall Street Journal that the IG’s final report is expected in the coming days.