Insider reports from the White House say that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will be the next Trump appointee to leave his administration.
These reports say that President Donald Trump has told other advisers that he has made the decision to get rid of Nielsen as soon as it is feasible. This means that she will likely leave the administration in just a few weeks, if not sooner.
In its reporting, The Washington Post spoke to five current and former White House officials who agreed that the president would soon make his move to replace Nielsen.
Trump was planning to take a trip with Nielsen this week to visit U.S. troops in South Texas but cancelled the trip without announcing a reason. He told White House advisers over the weekend that he wants her out as soon as possible.
Trump has complained about Nielsen for several months because he believes she is not doing a good job on enforcement of immigration laws. Since tough immigration enforcement is the cornerstone of his domestic policies, he needs someone very tough in the DHS role, he believes.
The White House insiders say that he will be looking for a replacement who will be more willing to quickly implement his policy ideas. Nielsen did not always agree with Trump’s policies, such as his “zero tolerance” policy and the policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S./Mexican border.
Trump is expected to make his announcement about Nielsen’s departure sometime this week.
Other DHS officials would not talk about her potential departure but DHS spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton issued a statement saying:
“The Secretary is honored to lead the men and women of DHS and is committed to implementing the President’s security-focused agenda to protect Americans from all threats and will continue to do so.”
Nielsen has reportedly been very unhappy in the DHS position since early this year, but did not want to leave the administration before reaching the one-year mark as secretary on December 6.
During her tenure at DHS Nielsen has tried to explain to Trump the laws and regulations that prevent the government from drastically curtailing immigration or closing the border with Mexico. But the president seemed unwilling to listen to her, and grew increasingly impatient and frustrated with her performance.
After Nielsen leaves there will be a leadership void at the federal government’s third-largest agency. DHS has 240,000 employees and a $60 billion budget. The job of DHS Deputy Secretary has been vacant since April, and Trump has not submitted to Congress a nomination for that post.
Like other qualified people who have left the Trump administration, Secretary Nielsen was not willing to give in to every whim or crazy idea emanating from the Oval Office. By standing up to Trump, and attempting to bring a measured approach to her important job, Nielsen got on his bad side and her leaving was only a matter of time.