President Biden’s pick to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced on Monday that he’d withdrawn his nomination, Politico reports. Ed Gonzalez, the sheriff of Harris County, Tx., said he told the president of his decision over the weekend “after prayerfully considering what’s best for our nation, my family, and the people of Harris County who elected me to serve a second term as Sheriff.” The nomination has long been doomed, as many Democrats remained undecided on Gonzalez, who was accused of domestic abuse of his wife in a 2021 police affidavit. Both deny the allegations. While the president has successfully moved most of his high-profile nominees, so-far-unsuccessful ones like Federal Reserve Board pick Sarah Bloom Raskin; Biden’s pick for U.S. ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti; and former Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives director nominee David Chipman, the White House was seeking to save Gonzalez’s nomination and avoid another defeat on the Hill.
The White House continued to back Gonzalez despite not having the votes for approval. As Gonzalez noted in the tweet announcing his withdrawal, Biden nominated him for the post more than a year ago. There has not been a Senate-confirmed director of ICE since the Obama administration. Under President Trump, the agency was led by acting officials. “I am grateful to President Biden for the honor of nominating me, and I wish this administration well as it strives to overcome the paralyzing political gridlock that threatens far more than our nation’s border. Frankly, the dysfunction threatens America’s heart and soul,” Gonzalez said on Twitter. “My love for America and my desire to serve during these contentious times is stronger than ever. Ensuring the safety and security of the people of Harris County is a great honor, and I am fully devoted to continuing to fulfill this responsibility.”