The acting head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Tuesday announced his resignation, a few weeks after criticizing Donald Trump for appearing to have “condoned police misconduct.”
Chuck Rosenberg, in the email to DEA staffers, gave no reason for his departure, which takes effect on Sunday, reports NBC News. He became acting administrator in 2015.
A DEA spokesperson confirmed Rosenberg’s resignation. The official wouldn’t confirm a report in The New York Times, which quoted law enforcement officers as saying Rosenberg had become convinced that Trump “had little respect for the law.”
Trump had kept on on the DEA chief, 57, but his future with the administration had been in doubt since Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, for whom Rosenberg had served as chief of staff.
Trump ‘condoned police misconduct’
The DEA chief had already criticized Trump in a memo to DEA employees on July 29, saying that Trump’s remarks in a speech to law enforcement officers “condoned police misconduct.” Rosenberg sent that memo one day after Trump appeared to encourage police to be rough with suspects in custody.
When you see these thugs being throw into the back of a paddy wagon – you just see them throw in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’ – Donald Trump, July 28
Rosenberg’s memo took a sharply different tack:
We have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong. That’s what law enforcement officers do. That’s what you do. We fix stuff. At least, we try. – Acting DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg
He then listed “core values” that he said is fundamental to the DEA:
Rule of Law, Respect and Compassion, Service Devotion, Integrity, Accountability. This is how we conduct ourselves. This is how we treat those whom we encounter in our work: victims, witnesses, subjects, and defendants. This is who we are. – Rosenberg
Rosenberg said he didn’t believe anyone at the DEA would “mistreat a defendant.”
In his email to DEA staff, Rosenberg said he’s proud to have led the agency and made no mention of Trump.
The neighborhoods in which we live are better for your commitment to the rule of law, dedication to the cause of justice, and perseverance in the face of adversity. You will continue to do great things. I will continue to root for you, now from the sidelines. – Rosenberg
Bharara tweets support
Acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg is one of the most devoted & honorable public servants I know. Proud to have been his colleague and friend. https://t.co/d4IshOfdXC
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) September 27, 2017
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump, on Tuesday tweeted his support for Rosenberg:
Acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg is one of the most devoted & honorable public servants I know. Proud to have been his colleague and friend. – Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who at times seems to be in a competition with the departed Sean Spicer over who can tell them biggest lie in a press conference, claimed at the time that Trump’s remarks had been blown out of proportion. “It was a joke,” she told reporters.
Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, the head of the New Jersey State Police, is reportedly considered the leading contender to replace the director, reports The Washington Post.