Despite her impressive levels of cruelty, it looks like former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was forced out because she wasn't cruel enough.
Kirstjen Nielsen is out at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). And, like many past Trump Cabinet members, she might have officially found out when Trump tweeted about it.
An early leak says Nielsen didn't go willingly, even though she did issue a resignation statement. It does appear that her departure was at least in part because she wasn't tough enough. As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi put it, it is "deeply alarming that the Trump Administration official who put children in cages is reportedly resigning because she is not extreme enough for the White House’s liking."
It's breathtaking to think that Nielsen wasn't cruel enough, even as she happily put children in cages. She blatantly lied about family separations, saying "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period." She lied about the conditions in war-torn Sudan, declaring it "sufficiently improved" enough to allow America to refuse asylum applications. She lied to Congress about the fact that many parents were tricked into agreeing to be deported without their children.
In the end, that persistent viciousness wasn't enough to save her.
Nielsen's resignation is just one piece of a big DHS reorganization helmed by the virulently anti-immigrant Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser. As Nielsen's replacement, Trump tapped Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner.
There's a serious question as to whether making McAleenan the acting director is even legal. DHS has a law covering succession, and it appears that Nielsen's successor is supposed to be Claire Grady, the current undersecretary of management. It's another way in which this White House is in disarray and Trump is more than happy to break the law.
Nielsen's abrupt departure calls attention to both the chaos at the border and the chaos in the administration. Perhaps that's why Trump took to Twitter a few hours after the resignation to explain that the Border Patrol is "amazing" and that the "Country is FULL!"
Trump won't be happy until the southern border is closed and he bars all asylum seekers, even though asking for asylum is both a human right and the law. Perhaps Nielsen's departure gets him one step closer to that goal.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.