'Turnover in leadership doesn’t help a bad situation': Texas Republican on DHS and border

PHOTO: Rep. Will Hurd speaks during a news conference in Washington D.C., April 18, 2018.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images
Rep. Will Hurd speaks during a news conference in Washington D.C., April 18, 2018.

Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican who represents a district that borders Mexico for hundreds of miles, spoke on Wednesday about the impact the leadership shake-up at Homeland Security might have on the border situation.

"The turnover in leadership doesn’t help a bad situation," Hurd told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein on the Powerhouse Politics podcast.

Wednesday was Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s last day leading the department, after submitting her resignation to the president on Sunday. Kevin McAleenan will become Acting Homeland Security Secretary, joining a growing faction of “acting” heads in major leadership positions within the administration.

Hurd said that people in acting positions don’t always make tough calls, because they feel they may not be in their position for long.

PHOTO: Rep. Will Hurd speaks during a news conference in Washington D.C., April 18, 2018. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images
Rep. Will Hurd speaks during a news conference in Washington D.C., April 18, 2018.

The congressman represents a district that includes 820 miles of land along the U.S.-Mexico border, and is the only House Republican representing a border district.

Hurd has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump’s border wall proposal. He says that in some places a physical barrier makes sense, but he advocates for a broader strategy aimed at monitoring border activity comprehensively through the use of technology.

“What we should be talking about is a strategy to secure our border, not a focus on one particular tool,” Hurd told Karl and Klein.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen greets a member of the Border Patrol at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Advanced Training Facility in Harpers Ferry, W.V., March 13, 2019. Joshua Roberts/Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen greets a member of the Border Patrol at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Advanced Training Facility in Harpers Ferry, W.V., March 13, 2019.

Hurd serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He also cites his time as an undercover CIA officer when discussing his experience with national security.

Hurd made headlines with a moment -- or rather, many moments -- of bipartisan friendship in March 2017, during a 1,600-mile road trip he made with 2020 Democratic hopeful Beto O’Rourke.

Hurd and O’Rourke had found themselves stranded in San Antonio amid a wave of flight delays, and ultimately decided to rent a car and drive together to Washington, D.C. They chronicled their journey on Facebook Live.

Klein asked Hurd what he took away from his journey with O’Rourke.

“I do know he's going to work harder than than anybody else," Hurd said. "He's going to work hard and he's going to talk to a lot of people and he's going to listen.”

Overall, he said, he took away “that people actually want politicians and their leaders to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.”

Powerhouse Politics podcast is a weekly program that posts every Wednesday, and includes headliner interviews and in-depth looks at the people and events shaping U.S. politics. Powerhouse Politics podcast is hosted by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein.