And the hits just keep on coming.
Just days after she joined Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in announcing a interim rule that seeks to limit asylum for those who cross the U.S. border illegally, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is on her way out the door.
According to the Washington Post, Trump has already decided to fire Nielsen and she’s expected to depart “in the coming weeks”. That’s according to five current and former White House officials and now that it’s in the news, you can expect “coming weeks” to turn into “coming days”.
Apparently, the President is dissatisfied with Nielsen’s “performance” when it comes to enforcing his increasingly draconian immigration policies. Trump, sources say, wants her gone “as soon as possible.”
The President has of course stepped up his push to limit entry into the country, seizing on a caravan of destitute Central American migrants en route to the U.S. to perpetuate the notion that America is being “invaded” from the south. The caravan issue was the focal point of the President’s midterm campaign and he’s managed to create a crisis where there wasn’t one by compelling the Pentagon to deploy thousands of active-duty troops to the southern border.
If Trump has his way, the U.S. troop presence stationed on the Mexican border will rival that of the fighting force currently on the ground fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. The President has also suggested the U.S. military would be within its rights to fire on migrants who throw rocks.
As WaPo goes on to report, Nielsen has been “unhappy in the job for several months”, and it’s not hard to understand why. Nielsen has been the subject of public ire for quite a while and even if that didn’t bother her, working for Trump is starting to take its toll.
“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”, WaPo says, adding that “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.”
That’s hardly surprising. Trump has a demonstrable tendency to become annoyed when he’s informed that what he wants to do is wildly out of step with decorum or, in this case, outright illegal.
Earlier this year, Nielsen became the public face of the wildly unpopular family separation policy and was famously heckled while trying to eat dinner at a Mexican restaurant a day after holding a press conference that was panned as tone deaf at best and soulless at worst.
Some suggested that the Nielsen who worked for Donald Trump wasn’t the Nielsen they knew. “This almost Cruella de Vil press conference that she held was shocking to those of us who know her,” Arick Wierson, a TV producer, columnist and former media adviser to Michael Bloomberg who was a classmate of Nielsen’s at Georgetown told Politico, for an article published back in July. “That’s not the Kirstjen we know”, Wierson added.
And that right there probably strikes at the heart of the problem. Trump has no use for anyone who isn’t wholly on board with his policies, especially not the ones he feels matter the most to his base.
Again, news that Nielsen is on the way out comes just days after the administration issued a new interim order that limits asylum and raises the bar for those seeking protection from persecution.
That sweeping decree is set to be challenged in court and it’s probably safe to say that Nielsen is just fine with not having to bear the brunt of the public backlash to Trump’s latest efforts to effectively close America’s borders.