Michael McCaul has served as the U.S. Representative for Texas‘ 10th Congressional district since 2005 and is in the running to be President-Elect Donald Trump‘s Secretary of Homeland Security. He is currently the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
McCaul’s district covers portions of Austin and neighboring counties in Southeast Texas. Prior to running for the House, he worked as an attorney and federal prosecutor, with time in the U.S. Department of Justice in Texas and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
McCaul is married to Linda McCaul and the two have five children. He is a Roman Catholic.
Both Bloomberg and CNN report that McCaul is being considered to lead the Department of Homeland Security. The cabinet-level position was created in 2002, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the department’s job covers antiterrorism, border security and disaster management. The current Homeland Security Secretary is Jeh Johnson.
Here is a look at McCaul’s career in the House and his relationship with Donald Trump.
1. McCaul Promised That Trump Will ‘Shake The Ground’ Terrorists Walk on in His RNC Speech
McCaul took over the role of House Homeland Security Committee from New York Rep. Peter King in 2013 and he used his speech at the Republican National Convention to outline Trump’s vision for handling terrorism. McCaul served on Trump’s national security team during the general election.
“He will never bow down to our enemies,” McCaul said in Cleveland. “He will stand up to them. And Donald will never allow terrorists to gain ground against America. He will shake the ground they walk on.”
In an interview with the Washington Times, McCaul criticized President Barack Obama’s ISIS policy as “tone-deaf” and suggested that “even our military and intelligence analysts have felt pressure to put out upbeat, unrealistic assessments of the threat.”
“There is a lot more we can and should be doing to protect our homeland, counter radicalization, take the fight to the enemy and keep new networks and safe havens from emerging,” McCaul told the Washington Times in September. “The bottom line is that right now ISIS and other Islamist terrorists look like they’re winning, and if we want to break the movement, we’ve got to make it look like they’re losing. Only then can we deprive them of the foot soldiers and funds they need to expand.”
2. McCaul Doesn’t Think That Russia is a ‘Friend of Ours’ & Told Trump Russia Was Responsible for the DNC Hacks
Although Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin during the campaign, McCaul said in September that Russia is not a friend of the U.S.
“The idea that Russia is somehow a friend of ours, or that Putin is a friend, is a false narrative,” McCaul said an an event, The Hill reported. “They’re not our friends.”
McCaul went on to say that, even though Russia and the U.S. have a common enemy in Islamic jihadists, he thinks “we really can’t trust them” because their “No. 1 objective is to reinforce” Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
McCaul also said in October that he personally told Trump that Russia was using hacked information to help influence the U.S. election.
“I think he has in his mind that there’s not the proof,” McCaul said after Trump insisted that the country has “no idea” who hacked into Democratic National Committee emails during the last presidential debate. “Now he hasn’t had the briefing I had, but I made it clear that in my judgment it was a nation-state,” McCaul added.
However, McCaul did once praise Putin himself. In a 2013 Fox News Sunday interview, he said that Putin has “now come forward as a leader and he owns this,” in reference to a U.S.-Russian agreement on the removal of chemical weapons in Syria.
3. McCaul Has Been at the Forefront of Cybersecurity, Calling for an Increase in Cybersecurity Measures After the Infamous Sony Hack
Cybersecurity has been one of McCaul’s top priorities since becoming the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. McCaul and Democrat Jim Langevin of Rhode Island are co-chairs of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus.
In December 2013, he introduced the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2014, which would require Homeland Security to conduct cybersecurity activities for the federal government. The bill passed the House and is an amendment to the 2002 bill act that created the department. Homeland Security does have a Cyber Security Division.
McCaul called on the federal government to take tougher cybersecurity measures in a January 2015 Washington Times op-ed. The op-ed was published after Sony Pictures was hacked and data breaches of Target and Home Depot. He wrote that there was “no effective strategy” at the time to stop an attack like the one pulled off on Sony.
To prevent a crippling attack on our nation’s critical networks, U.S companies and the federal government must work together to combat those who wish to do us harm. As the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, I will lead a renewed effort this year with my partners in the House and Senate to build on the progress my committee made last Congress by removing the legal barriers for the private sector to share cyberthreat information. Only then will we be able to best prevent, detect and response to the growing cyberthreats today.
4. McCaul Was Highly Critical of Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban, Once Calling it ‘Unconstitutional’
McCaul was also critical of Donald Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. During a December 2015 breakfast, MCaul said that he didn’t “believe that kind of proposal would be constitutional.”
“We were founded upon freedom of religion, this country is protected by the Constitution, so I would argue that there are questions regarding the constitution – which is our first obligation,” McCaul said.
He later added, “My job as chairman of Homeland Security is not keep all Muslims outside the United States, but to stop those who would impose a terrorist threat to Americans outside the United States – whether they be Muslim or they be of another color or religion.”
In the above interview at the RNC, McCaul said that you can’t ban all Muslims from coming in, so “you have to have a targeting, vetting approach towards where the threats really are.”
After Trump was elected as the next president, the December 2015 statement on banning Muslim immigration was removed from Trump’s site. However, it is now back on the Trump site. McCaul has also been left off Trump’s executive transition team.
5. McCaul is the Second Richest Congressman with an Estimated Net Wroth of $108.61 Million in 2015
In 2015, Roll Call listed McCaul as the second-richest Congressman behind only Rep. Darrell Issa of California. McCaul’s net worth is estimated at $107.61 Million.
Despite his wealth, McCaul doesn’t have a single asset listed in his name. According to Roll Call, the McCaul family investments are all listed under the name of his wife or their children. McCaul is married to Linda McCaul, the daughter of Clear Channel Communications founder Lowry Mays. In 2005, Forbes estimated that Mays’ own net worth was $1.1 billion.
McCaul and Linda McCaul have five children: daughters Lauren, Avery, Caroline and Jewell and son Michael. Lauren, Michael and Avery are triplets.
In a 2010 interview with Katy Magazine, McCaul said he has always wanted a large family as a Catholic. When asked what he enjoys most about being a father, he replied, “Hopefully, being able to pass down a better world to my children. And of course, the love and affection they give to me.”