Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will be the next Trump Administration official on the chopping block, according to a report from the Washington Post. Trump has reportedly told advisors that he will fire Nielsen in the next few weeks if not sooner, five current and former White House officials told the Post.
Trump has apparently spent months complaining about Nielsen’s performance, and is particularly critical of her border enforcement strategy.
It’s possible that Trump could change his mind—we heard for months that he was considering firing former Attorney General Jeff Sessions before finally forcing him to resign last week. Aides told the Post that Chief of Staff John Kelly is trying to convince the president to keep Nielsen, or at least postpone her departure.
From the Post:
Nielsen has been reluctant to leave the administration before reaching the one-year mark as secretary on Dec. 6, but she has been unhappy in the job for several months, according to colleagues. Trump has berated her during Cabinet meetings, belittled her to other White House staff and tagged her months ago as a “Bushie,” a reference to her previous service under president George W. Bush and meant to cast suspicion on her loyalty.
When Nielsen has tried to explain the laws and regulations that prevent the government from drastically curtailing immigration or closing the border with Mexico, as Trump has suggested, the president has grown impatient and frustrated, aides said.
According to sources, Trump is considering replacements for Nielsen that include Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or David P. Pekoske, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.
“If I were advising the White House, I’d encourage them to nominate someone with executive branch experience,” a senior DHS official told the Post. “This will be our fourth secretary in two years. The last thing we want is someone who needs hand-holding.”
But this is Trump we’re talking about. So, unsurprisingly, one candidate he is reportedly considering is Kris Kobach, the controversial former Kansas Secretary of State, and well-known proponent of voter suppression, who just lost his gubernatorial race to a Democrat.
Nielsen oversaw Trump’s“zero-tolerance” policy for families entering the U.S. illegally, which led to the family separations that in turn spurred massive protests across the country.