Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Homeland Security Chief Was Close To Resigning After Trump Tirade

Kirstjen Nielsen Brendan Smialowski AFP Getty Images
Ray Hunter | 12 May, 2018, 21:26

Aides say she was trying to send a strong message about not breaking the law.

Trump lashed out at his Cabinet, and Nielsen in particular, when told that the number of people arrested for illegally crossing the Mexico border topped 50,000 for the second consecutive month.

Trump has never viewed Nielsen favorably, and complains to colleagues that she is "not tough enough", according to a senior White House official.

Nielsen did not deny the meeting had grown heated in a statement Thursday evening, but said she shared the president's frustrations. Another report from Politico noted that Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with Nielsen, and the knives may be coming out for her.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen released a statement about the New York Times report that she was contemplating resigning her position after being "berated" by President Trump.

The secretary, he added, was "hard at work" Thursday "on the President's security-focused agenda and supporting the men and women of @DHSgov".

"Someone, as sources have put it, has gotten it in his head that she is a Bush family plant", Haberman wrote of Trump's suspicions of Nielsen.

According to DHS data, there were about 30,186 total cases of foreign nationals claiming credible fear and thus requesting asylum in the USA between October and December 2017 - at the same time that an amnesty for illegal aliens was being considered by Congress and President Trump's administration. "She feels like she's doing the best she can and doing a good job on immigration, but she also has to follow the law", this person said. Two senior White House officials described Nielsen as upset after the meeting, but said they were unaware of such a letter or threats to resign.

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"Border security is the most basic and necessary responsibility of a sovereign nation", she continued. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose private conversations.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about the incident in Thursday's press briefing.

Trump has also been frustrated with Nielsen, according to people familiar with the dynamic. He urged voters to "give me some reinforcements, please" in the form of new Republican members.

Trump has been a long critic of the current immigration system.

While border apprehensions dipped past year to their lowest levels ever, the numbers have been ticking up in recent months, returning to more typical historical levels.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week announced a new "zero-tolerance" policy toward people who enter the United States illegally that may cause more separations.

The incident came amidst the president's frustration over his administration's failure to fully fund the border wall. More recently, however, those numbers have climbed back toward the level they were in the final years of the Obama administration-an intolerable equivalence for Trump.

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