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White House to withdraw Trump’s nominee to head FEMA

The White House plans to withdraw the nomination of Jeff Byard, President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency, seven months after he was nominated to the position, a senior administration official and congressional source tell CNN.(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House plans to withdraw the nomination of Jeff Byard, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency, seven months after he was nominated to the position, a senior administration official and congressional source tell CNN.

Instead, Trump is expected to nominate acting FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor — who is the agency’s confirmed deputy administrator — for the top disaster relief position, the sources said.

Axios first reported the news, and CNN reported earlier Wednesday that Byard’s nomination was in trouble.

The White House declined to comment.

Issues with Byard’s confirmation stemmed from a personal issue that surfaced in the last week, and Byard requested last Thursday that his nomination be withdrawn, according to a letter obtained by CNN.

In the letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, Byard said that “it would be best for me to focus entirely on pressing issues related to my current role as the Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery.”

“I am honored to have been nominated by the President and considered by the U.S. Senate for the Agency’s top position. However, as an emergency manager, I am truly looking forward to continuing my service with the Agency under the leadership of Acting Administrator Gaynor.”

A senior administration official told CNN the White House was informed of Byard’s request.

A source familiar with the situation said the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was told Wednesday afternoon that the White House was withdrawing the nomination.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct when the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was told of the withdrawal.

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