The Story Behind Kirstjen Nielsen’s Ouster as DHS Secretary

The Story Behind Kirstjen Nielsen’s Ouster as DHS Secretary April 9, 2019

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.”

Indeed.

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.


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  • chemical

    I like how Susan referred to Jared Kushner as shadow president. I never really thought of him as that, but I see where Susan could legitimately make that point (since basically he’s been put in charge of finding solutions to everything). Personally I’ve never seen any indication that anyone is in charge in the White House since Trump took office, so I’m a little wary of calling anyone there a president, shadow or not.

    The way I see it: Kushner is charged with coming up with sane policies, while Miller’s job is apparently to be as racist as possible and undermine Kushner. Then there is Trump himself, who appointed himself to tweet insults at the television. And I guess Pence is doing what he did during that infamous Washington Post photo op with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi: Being a piece of furniture, which honestly might be the smartest move. Normally an effective leader would make sure everyone is on the same page and not stepping on each other’s toes. With Trump, it seems like he’s forcing everyone to step on each other’s toes, putting people in places where they will undermine another staffer or Cabinet member — which would explain the absolute chaos coming out of the White House.

  • Michael Weyer

    Because once more the man thinks this is still a reality TV show where pitting folks against each other is great for his “ratings” not getting this is real world stuff.

    And I have no sympathy for any of those people he steps on as they made the choice to work for Trump so deserve everything they get.

    Say what you will about Paul Ryan but at least he had the sense of self-preservation to see how things were going and got out while he could.

  • chemical

    A house divided among itself cannot stand, but it sure will get a lot of people watching it with morbid fascination as it collapses on itself.

  • JASmius

    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?

    Neither one. Remember, Trump thinks he’s going to “get rid of the judges,” so the law will no longer be an obstacle to him.

    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.

    In other words, Trump has finally realized that his “wall” would have no effect on the current illegal immigration problem because the overwhelming majority of it is migrant families seeking asylum, so he wants to shut down all legal ports of entry to redirect the migrant flow to “between those ports” to justify building “the wall”.

    “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….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.”

    What’s his definition of “full”/”don’t have the capacity”? Is that a systemic reference, or does he literally mean physical room? I wouldn’t pose this question about anybody else, but with Trump, it’s depressingly necessary.

    The answer, of course, is to work with Congress to appropriate the necessary resources to expand that “capacity” (more adequate and humane holding facilities, more immigration judges, etc.). But he’s not looking for answers, he’s just making excuses. The only thing he wants from Congress is a bill banning asylum altogether, which he couldn’t have gotten from the last Congress, much less the current one. So he just demands that his “underlings” break the law anyway, because he wants what he wants (“I don’t care.”).

    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 U.S. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.

    Despite the avalanche of evidence to the contrary, indeed that that policy is accelerating the influx. In his mind, he’s The Master Of All Reality and if he declares something, reality is obligated to bend accordingly to accommodate him. And when he’s proven hilariously, disastrously wrong, he just doubles down and ragingly bellows the same idea even louder. Those Border Patrol supervisors sound like James Mattis after Trump ordered him to arrange the assassination of Bashar Al-Assad over the phone, and after hanging up telling his staff, “We aren’t going to do any of that.”

    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.

    Precisely. That applies across the issue board to the Republican Party and the (fake) conservative movement as a whole. It’s why the GOP is going to be politically irrelevant for the next twenty years, and the Democrats will finish the “fundamental transformation” Barack Obama started.

    Compared to that apocalypse, four years of President Hillary would have been a bargain.

  • Michael Weyer

    Your last line sadly is the one that counts to far too many of the Republicans (including so-called conservatives) who follow Trump: “at least he’s not Hillary.” Because they still assume a few conservative judges and “ticking off liberals” makes up for the chaos Trump is causing, his idiotic public persona, ticking off our allies and turning us into an international joke. Even a few Never Trumpers still won’t go as far as saying Hillary would have been better.

    Look, if she was in office, it would still be a mess as right now, we’d be seeing Graham and company leading investigation #87 into e-mails/Benghazi/Seth Rich/Pizzagate, etc. They’d be pouncing on her public appearances and accuse her of tyrannical acts constantly. But at least Clinton had some idea how to run a government and give the appearance of a professional leader in public (behind closed doors is another story but just look at how Trump behaves.) Yet the reason so many on the right will still go for Trump next year is that they still think “anyone from the left is worse” ignoring how very few can match the disaster Trump has become.

  • Michael Weyer

    Are you talking about the GOP or the international community observing the United States?

  • chemical

    I was referring to the Trump administration / GOP, but I see how it could refer the the US as a whole. I think the international community is watching with an emotion I wouldn’t describe as “morbid fascination”, as the collapsing house is full of nuclear weapons.

  • Michael Weyer

    My parents visited London and they are a bit freaked but also laughing at how crazy the U.S. is now.

    Do you know how chaotic a government/country is when the British can mock you?

  • chemical

    You know the real kicker about the whole Brexit debacle? The thing the people voted for was originally a non-binding referendum. At any point, May could have said “You know, this turned out to be a really dumb idea and let’s not do Brexit” and they wouldn’t be in the situation they’re in now.

    It’s like watching a car containing the entire British government head top speed to the edge of a cliff, and they are all saying “Oh no! What will we do?”, forgetting that the car still has a functioning steering wheel and brakes.

  • “To preserve the government we must also preserve a correct and energetic tone of morals. After all that can be said, the truth is that liberty consists more in the habits of the people than in anything else. When the public mind becomes vitiated and depraved, every attempt to preserve it is vain. Laws are then a nullity, and Constitutions waste paper. There are always men wicked enough to go any length in the pursuit of power, if they can find others wicked enough to support them. They regard not paper and parchment. Can you stop the progress of a usurper by opposing to him the laws of his country? then you may check the careering winds or stay the lightning with a song. No. Ambitious men must be restrained by the public morality: when they rise up to do evil, they must find themselves standing alone. Morality rests on religion. If you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. In a world of error, of temptation, of seduction; in a world where crimes often triumph, and virtue is scourged with scorpions,—in such a world, certainly, the hope of an hereafter is necessary to cheer and to animate. Leave us, then, the consolations of religion. Leave to man, to frail and feeble man, the comfort of knowing, that, when he gratifies his immortal soul with deeds of justice, of kindness, and of mercy, he is rescuing his happiness from final dissolution and laying it up in Heaven.” ~Daniel Webster, Fourth of July Oration (1802)

  • AJ

    The summation seems to be that that “shadow government” working behind Trump ISN’T able to do what was once reported. Sometime last year, I believe, Susan wrote about an article which declared that we, who are legitimately concerned about Trump, needn’t worry because there are adults behind the scenes working to keep Trump from saying the wrong things or doing anything devastating. I expressed doubt not just at the sentiment but that these adults were, in fact, Constitutional since it was Trump who was elected (more’s the pity) and not these unseen individuals who were getting to play President without having to go through the Constitutional channels of becoming one. I also expressed doubt that these people were, in fact, doing what they claimed. After all the reports coming out about Trump’s playing footsie with Russia and North Korea and how he was able to have private meetings with Putin (meetings those “behind-the-scenes” adults didn’t seem able to stop) or making pacts with Jong-Un (that those “shadow individuals” were clearly unable to prevent), it seemed to me that, even if they were Constitutional, they were also wholly unable to keep up their part of the “bargain.” And here we are again, learning that Trump isn’t able to be managed, corralled, restrained, or even tamed. The man is as dangerous as a ticking time bomb set to detonate in 15 seconds, and those behind him, who claim to be able to manage him, are just as bad at their purported goal as Trump is at being, well, anything: man, adult, husband, father, businessman, president…you name it.

    As JA Smius responded yesterday (I think it was he), I don’t feel sympathy for Nielsen or for anyone who willingly goes to work for this, er, man. I feel sympathy for those of us who didn’t vote for him and want the man removed before he commits further atrocities that can’t be undone. All we can do is sit back and, for those of us who do, pray that something or someone will intervene before it’s too late. Whether that’s an impeachment or some stone overturned in Congress’ quest for answers regarding the Russia probe, I don’t know, but the longer this man is allowed to play fast and loose with laws and, ultimately, our Constitution, the worse it gets. And I’ve had enough of watching my country be destroyed from the inside. No, no feelings of sympathy here for Nielsen, et al. To disregard your own core values in order to follow in lock-step behind some unhinged “man” isn’t right. The “I-had-no-choice-because-I-was-just-following-orders” mantra doesn’t hold much sway with people anymore. And the idea of being able to put this job on your résumé, shouldn’t thrill you into joining his team because most people aren’t going to be impressed with your having worked for such a man or with your having performed such acts at his behest. In the not-too-distant-future, I think this particular notation on a résumé is going to be more “hindrance” than “acclaim,” and anyone who set aside values and common sense to work for him, will wish they hadn’t.

    In the meantime, the rest of us have no recourse but to wait and see how it all plays out.

    There are days when I just wish I could go to sleep and, when I woke up, learned this had all just been some crazy nightmare.

  • Cousin_Ken

    ^^

  • Cousin_Ken

    Hello BTG,

    “the hope of an hereafter is necessary to cheer and to animate.”
    Indeed, the hope and prayer of ‘here after Trump’ is necessary.

    Godspeed,

  • Ellen Elmore

    Once again Susan, you accurately proved your point. Trump is a disaster for the former Republican party. There is nothing about him that is likeable. He is a crude, rude, narcissistic, liar who enjoys offending everyone who doesn’t agree with him. But the worst part of Trump is his inability to listen to anyone with more common sense and knowledge than he has, which is anyone who is not related to him. Trump thinks he is the smartest, Trump thinks he is the best negotiator. Trump thinks he is better than anyone not named Trump. He is wrong on all counts. Unfortunately, the rest of the country, not named Trump, is suffering.

  • Ronald Langdon

    That Trump derangement syndrome is going to kill Susan Wright!!!!! The story behind the resignation of DHS is that she had been promoted up through the ranks without have the proper or adequate experience to deal with such a huge potrfolio. CNN and NYT times didnt explain that to Susan HAHA! What a farce reading the fake MSM and the lecturing Trump!! I wonder they will hire her to help with their lying agenda LOL. The things Susan talks about are merely distractions from what is really taking place. We are watching and waiting for the real news coming from the corrupt Obama,Clinton,FBI,and DOJ. It will be exciting to watch these traitors to our country squirm when they all appear before the courts.

  • RebeccaSusanWright

    Do you understand that Trump Derangement Syndrome is actually those so enamored of that blithering idiot that they think he can do no wrong?
    You may have it.

  • Ronald Langdon

    I really think you have it backwards!! The syndrome applies to those who think Trump cant do anything right and everything he does is wrong LOL

  • Pennybird

    Sort of like the right wing and Hillary Clinton, then. But with any luck, those of us with TDS won’t continue to drone on and on (and on and on…) after he has left office.

  • Pennybird

    “behind closed doors is another story…”

    Bear in mind that some of Clinton’s biggest critics (attackers, really) during her presidential campaign praised her for her competence, professionalism and willingness to work across the aisle when she was a senator. We have every reason to believe she would have done the same as president. They just couldn’t handle having a woman or a Democrat (or a combination – perish the thought!) as president.

    Much of the criticism against Clinton was meaningless blather masking the real panic in the Republican Party: White men aren’t guaranteed the levers of power anymore. And Trump’s approval ratings are as high as they are because to them he meets the only qualification for leadership.