How quickly Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s star has fallen.
In March, a New Yorker profile of Nielsen caller her one of President Donald Trump’s “fiercest loyalists.” But last week, Nielsen reportedly came close to resigning after Trump screamed at her in front of the whole Cabinet. (She said this week that she never threatened to resign.) And now, we’ve reached the final stage in the life cycle of a Trump Cabinet member: stories leaked to the press about Trump openly looking for a replacement.
According to Quartz, the White House is “discussing possible replacements for Nielsen if she leaves,” including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and ICE director Thomas Homan. Quartz reports that Nielsen’s job is in jeopardy because, surprise surprise, Trump doesn’t understand how federal projects get money and also because Ann Coulter hurt his feelings:
In several negotiations since Trump was elected, Congress refused to give DHS the billions the agency requested to build his promised wall on the US’s southern border. Nielsen is being blamed in the White House for the omission, one of the people briefed said. Far-right pundits have been mocking the administration this week for failing to get it done, angering Trump, this person said.
Trump was also furious when he found out that the omnibus spending bill that funded the federal government this March barely contained any funding for the wall.
Not understanding how shit works or how long it takes and getting mad at the wrong people is, well, a common theme for Trump.
It bears repeating that stories about Trump contemplating firings have not always been reliable, as evidenced by the multiple times we’ve heard that Nielsen’s old boss John Kelly was about to be fired. Either way, Nielsen defended the inhumane practice of separating families at the border this week, so she’s just as ghoulish as the rest of them. And if she does get canned? There’s always a backup plan: rebranding as a low-key resistance grifter.