President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening fired Christopher Krebs, who served as head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and who had correctly disputed many of the president’s misleading and false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump made the announcement on social media that he was firing Krebs based on recent statements the agency head had made contradicting Trump’s false assertions of fraud.
“The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud – including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, ‘glitches’ in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more,” the president wrote. “Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
None of the contentions Trump listed in his statement announcing Krebs’s termination hold any water — according to numerous fact-checking websites and court rulings, ballots were not cast illegally on behalf of dead individuals, poll watchers were granted access to observing the election, no glitches resulted in votes for Trump being dropped or switched to President-elect Joe Biden, and votes that were counted after Election Day were in fact legitimate, processed “late” because of a huge influx in absentee or mail-in ballots this year owing concerns about in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic. In short, Krebs’s firing appears to have been based entirely on the falsehoods perpetrated by the president and his supporters.
Krebs has for several days now maintained that the election was secure and that no mishaps occurred that would have resulted in a change of outcome. The agency he led even set up a “rumor control” webpage, which debunked a number of errant claims of election fraud as they propped up (including several promulgated by Trump).
CISA was also part of a joint statement with other government agencies, which announced, in what was largely seen as a direct rebuke to the president, that this year’s election “was the most secure in American history.”
After the election, Krebs stood by his agency and the statements he had made, but in statements to his associates over the past week he recognized he would likely be fired by Trump.
Before he was fired, Krebs managed to retweet from his government social media account a post on Twitter from elections expert David Becker, who singled out Trump specifically as someone who couldn’t be trusted to be honest about election security this year.
“Please don’t retweet wild and baseless claims about voting machines, even if they’re made by the president,” the tweet from Becker read. “These fantasies have been debunked many times.”
Following his termination, Krebs has become active on his personal Twitter account. He immediately announced he was “honored to serve” in the role that he did.
“We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow [sic]. #Protect2020,” Krebs wrote.
Many came to the defense of Krebs after his firing was announced. After Star Wars actor Mark Hamill criticized Trump for terminating Krebs, the former CISA head quoted Hamill in his own tweet, paraphrasing lines from the movie franchise Hamill is best associated with.
“In defending democracy, do or do not, there is no try. This is the way,” Krebs wrote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decried Krebs’s firing, describing him in a statement as a “deeply respected cybersecurity official.”
“The President’s insistence on distracting and dividing the country by denying his defeat in the election undermines our democracy,” Pelosi said.
The speaker went on to blast Trump for focusing on punishing those who disagree with him rather than addressing real and present dangers that Americans are facing at the moment.
“Instead of stooping to this dangerous and shameful charade, Trump needs to get serious about crushing the accelerating pandemic that has killed nearly 250,000 Americans, infected over 11 million people in our country and devastated the livelihoods of tens of millions more,” Pelosi said.