The Slatest

Trump Immigration Official Leaves Bar After He’s Berated by Former Presidential Candidate

Acting Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli speaks during a briefing at the White House August 12, 2019, in Washington, D.C.
Acting Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli speaks during a briefing at the White House August 12, 2019, in Washington, D.C.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, left a Thanksgiving Eve bash after he was loudly berated by former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for his role in enforcing President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. The two men were at the Dubliner, a bar in Washington, D.C. that is popular with graduates of Gonzaga College High School on Thanksgiving Eve. The two men attended the school.

According to a witness who tweeted about the encounter, Siobhan Arnold, O’Malley was already at the bar when Cuccinelli walked inside. It wasn’t long before the two men were face-to-face and a “shame-invoking tirade” by O’Malley began. “O’Malley was shouting,” Arnold said. “I don’t think Cuccinelli was responding. I think he’s like, ‘Time to go. Just got here and I’m leaving.’ He pretty much retreated.”

O’Malley confirmed the encounter to the Washington Post via text message, insisting he didn’t shout at Cuccinelli but said he raised his voice “just to be heard” over the noise at the bar. O’Malley, who was Maryland governor from 2007 to 2015, claims he wasn’t the only one who criticized Cuccinelli, who he described as “the son of immigrant parents who cages children for a fascist president,” for the Trump administration policy of separating migrant children from their parents. “We all let him know how we felt about him putting refugee immigrant kids in cages — certainly not what we were taught by the Jesuits at Gonzaga,” O’Malley, who launched an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, wrote.

Cuccinelli has been one of the most hardline defenders of Trump’s immigration policies. Earlier this year, he spoke at the Center for Immigration Studies, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has characterized as an “anti-immigrant hate group.”