President Donald Trump has decided to replace Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in the coming weeks after becoming increasingly frustrated with her performance on immigration enforcement.
“Trump canceled a planned trip with Nielsen this week to visit U.S. troops at the border in South Texas and told aides over the weekend he wants her out as soon as possible,” The Washington Post reported, citing five current and former White House officials. “The president has grumbled for months about what he views as Nielsen’s lackluster performance on immigration enforcement and is believed to be looking for a replacement who will implement his policy ideas with more alacrity.”
Trump has been dissatisfied with Nielsen’s performance dating back for months, most notably slamming her during a 30-minute meeting in May after the number of illegal aliens entering the U.S. through the Southern Border soared for the second consecutive month.
“Why don’t you have solutions? How is this still happening?” Trump demanded to know during the May meeting, later adding, “We need to shut it down. We’re closed.”
A DHS official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Post that Trump needs to nominate a replacement who has “executive-branch experience” to help the department run more smoothly.
“This will be our fourth secretary in two years,” the official said. “The last thing we want is someone who needs hand-holding.”
“Former colleagues who worked with Nielsen were astonished when Kelly pushed to install her at DHS because she had never led a large organization, let alone one with so many responsibilities,” the Post added. “Nielsen worked on disaster-management response in the Bush White House, then in the private sector and academia as a cyber security expert before returning to DHS to work as chief of staff under Kelly when he was Homeland Security secretary during Trump’s first six months in office.”
The Post notes that Trump has reportedly already begun considering several candidates to replace Nielsen and could replace her with Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; David P. Pekoske, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration and a former vice commandant of the Coast Guard; or Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state who has hard-line views on immigration.
The decision by Trump comes after he decided to campaign on illegal immigration for the 2018 midterms and has repeatedly tweeted about the issue:
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