Nielsen out at DHS

Add DHS to the list of Departments being run by interims.

Kristien Nielsen is resigning as Secretary of Homeland Security. CBS News reports, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigning after clashes with Trump on immigration:

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is resigning, President Trump announced in a tweet Sunday, as the president continues to fume over continued illegal border crossings. CBS News first reported Nielsen’s impending departure, which Mr. Trump announced after a 5 p.m. meeting with Nielsen at the White House.

It is further reported that Kevin McAleenan, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will serve as the interim.

The following is not comforting:

Nielsen’s imminent departure is a part of a massive DHS overhaul engineered and directed by top Trump adviser Stephen Miller, according to a senior U.S. official. It’s unclear whether Nielsen is deciding to leave voluntarily, or whether she has been pressured to resign. 

A DHS more influenced by Miller’s view of immigration is quite concerning.

Nielsen’s announced exit comes two days after Mr. Trump announced he wants to go in a “tougher” direction in his nomination for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director, after originally announcing Ron Vitiello would head ICE.

Demonstrating what a well-oiled machine the Trump administration is, consider the following:

Nielsen’s departure also means acting heads will soon be running DHS, the Pentagon, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

That is quite a stunning list.

I will shed no tears for her departure, given her behavior in the administration’s approach to asylum-seekers:

Nielsen became known for her vigorous defense of the “zero tolerance” policy resulting in family separations at the border, blaming Congress for a “loophole” in the laws that needs to be fixed. Nielsen claimed in a White House briefing last year that the administration was merely continuing a policy from “previous administrations” that mandates separating a child who is “in danger, there is no custodial relationship between ‘family’ members, or if the adult has broken the law.”

Unfortunately, I expect her replacement will be worse.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Teve says:

    Donald Trump’s administration is deliberately traumatizing young children as a deterrent to other refugees.

    Pieces of shit.

  2. An Interested Party says:

    Yet another piece of evidence that shows the rank incompetence of this administration…how any self-respecting person can continue to defend this president is a mystery…I suppose the delusional and those who are getting some kind of benefit from this president will carry on…but such people deserve no respect, much like the sick joke that they support…

  3. Kathy says:

    At this point one almost expects Oompa Loompas to sing every time another official in what passes for an administration these days bites the dust.

  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    Stupid, stupid woman. She sold her soul to serve a pig. Now she fades into history leaving behind a faint odor of Simon Legree.

    #ETTD. Everything Trump Touches Dies.

  5. CSK says:

    Trumpkins cannot stand Nielsen. They want David Clarke or Kris Kobach to replace her. Seriously.

  6. Gustopher says:

    I’d like to thank her for her years of (misguided) service to her country. When I think of the sacrifices that she has made, and the things that she has done, I think she shouldn’t have (really, she and we and the families separated at the border all would have been better off had she found a job in the private sector somewhere, or at a think tank writing pointless position papers — what she did was immoral if not illegal, she really shouldn’t have).

    Goodbye Ms. Nielsen. History will remember you (hopefully not fondly in comparison to what comes next.)

  7. steve says:

    Not sure Clarke or Kobach are sufficiently clownish enough. Maybe Alex Jones has time now. Need to keep these nominations at the same level you get with a Herman Cain of Stephen Moore, and ale to blend in with a DeVos or Carson.


  8. reid says:

    @CSK: C’mon, Joe Arpaio still has righteous cruelty to dish out, too!

  9. While I get the corruption concerns, I think the fact that we have those concerns underscores the problems we have in out prisons. Corrupt guards should not be the default assumption, nor should gang dominance. And yet, they rightly come immediately to mind.

  10. There is the also the question of how this works in Maine and Vermont.

  11. Teve says:

    @steve: Jesse Lee Peterson .

  12. Teve says:

    Gabe Ortíz
    Kirstjen Nielsen should have to wait two years before being able to spend more time with her family.

  13. Pete S says:

    I don’t know if it reflects more on my cognitive skills or the clownish nature of this administration, but I initially read Dr Taylor’s subtitle as “Add DHS to the list of Departments being run by interns” and did not dismiss the idea as unrealistic. I did realize my error after I read the post.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    More beheadings to come: From this mornings NYT’s

    But by law, the under secretary for management, Claire Grady, who is currently serving as acting deputy secretary, is next in line to be acting secretary. The White House will have to fire her to make Mr. McAleenan acting secretary…

    Nielsen destroyed her reputation, but she went in knowing who she was working for.

  15. Teve says: wants Kobach.

  16. Jen says:

    @Pete S: I made the exact same error.