So on Monday we talked about the forced resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of The Department of Homeland Security.
What we know about her ouster was that she no longer enjoyed the favor of President Trump, or our shadow president, Jared Kushner.
And if you don’t think the creepy fingerprints of Trump immigration adviser Stephen Miller are all over this, you haven’t been paying attention.
What has also been reported is that Trump wanted Nielsen to take an even harder line on immigration than before, even if it meant ignoring our nation’s immigration laws.
Let me interject a question here, simply to ponder over, as we go: If Nielsen had moved to ignore the laws of our nation, simply to act on Trump’s whims, when the legal blowback began, who do you think would be most immediately affected – Trump or Nielsen?
Just roll that one around for a bit, as we get into further information about Nielsen’s departure, and the events leading up to it.
In a new story from CNN, it’s being reported that the president, two Thursdays ago, held an Oval Office meeting, complete with Trumpian ranting and raving, with several top officials, in regards to border security.
In attendance were Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, senior adviser (and shadow president) Jared Kushner, White House counsel Mike Cipollone, aides Mercedes Schlapp and Dan Scavino, as well as a few others.
Senior administration officials say that Trump then ordered Nielsen and Pompeo to shut down the port of El Paso the next day, Friday, March 22, at noon. The plan was that in subsequent days the Trump administration would shut down other ports.
Nielsen, operating under the assumption that it was her job to see that good policy was enacted, suggested to President McBestWords that this was not simply a bad idea, but a potentially dangerous one.
In her attempts to be reasonable, she recommended alternative plans for slowing entry, and pointed out that if all ports were shut down, illegals would simply move between those ports. Meanwhile, legal trade and travel would be stopped.
According to two people in the room, the President said: “I don’t care.”
Yes. We know.
Ultimately, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney seemed to have been able to talk the President out of closing the port of El Paso. Trump, however, was insistent that his administration begin taking another action — denying asylum seekers entry. Nielsen tried to explain to the President that the asylum laws allow migrants from Central America to come to the US and gain entry. She talked to the White House counsel to see if there were any exceptions, but he told her that her reading of the law was correct.
Can I once again remind people that if you elect a man whose history is littered with corruption and skirting the law, he doesn’t suddenly learn to respect the law if he gains a seat of power?
The nightmare with this guy keeps getting more outrageous. He doesn’t respect the law, and he wants loyalty from those he considers “underlings,” to the point that he wants them to risk their own freedom in service to his whims.
Last Friday, the President visited Calexico, California, where he said, “We’re full, our system’s full, our country’s full — can’t come in! Our country is full, what can you do? We can’t handle any more, our country is full. Can’t come in, I’m sorry. It’s very simple.”Behind the scenes, two sources told CNN, the President told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don’t have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, “Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.”
That’s pretty much illegal and a really solid path to ending up behind bars.
The border agents he was addressing, thankfully, understood they were listening to a lunatic. After he’d left, they looked to their supervisors, who informed them that they would not be given that direction from them, and if they decided to do what the president said, that was on them, as well as any legal troubles that followed.
Senior officials within the administration have also reported that for the last four months, Trump has leaned on Secretary Nielsen to ramp up the “zero tolerance” policy at the border, including separating families.
This was the policy first enacted by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but halted by Trump after a LOT of powerfully bad optics in the media.
According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers. The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.
Sources told CNN that Nielsen tried to explain they could not bring the policy back because of court challenges, and White House staffers tried to explain it would be an unmitigated PR disaster.
“He just wants to separate families,” said a senior administration official.
And this is because he is a cruel, disgustingly heartless man.
Also an idiot, with no desire to educate himself on our nation’s laws.
Reports further indicate Nielsen met with Trump and Mulvaney, in hopes of presenting a plan to him for the border that worked within the framework of U.S. law, but he refused to listen, telling her, “This isn’t working.”
“At the end of the day,” a senior administration official said, “the President refuses to understand that the Department of Homeland Security is constrained by the laws.”
Here’s the bottom line: We have an immigration problem. Unchecked, illegal immigration has long burdened our system, and it’s good that someone is giving it serious attention. What’s bad is that the someone giving it attention is neither intelligent, thoughtful, nor reasonable.
Donald Trump is the absolute worst possible representative for the side that wants more secure borders, because he has no self-control, no ability to control his id. He is a hateful man, but also, a dumb man, in every nuance of the term. This does not make for a positive mix.
And as he works to gut Homeland Security, while seeking someone to subvert our nation’s laws to suit his base, the rest of the country can only hold our breath, hoping someone, somewhere, intervenes and rescues us from this wretched nightmare.