Despite having some sympathetic words for her in a televised cabinet briefing on Wednesday, President Trump is said to be unhappy with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
The rumors of Trump’s dissatisfaction with Nielsen have been swirling almost since the moment she was appointed; Trump reportedly felt that his chief of staff, John Kelly, intentionally curbed the selection process to make his former deputy the only reasonable choice for the job. Her comments publicly about DACA and amnesty have struck Trump the wrong way, and he apparently does not believe she has done everything she can do to slow crossings at the southern border. According to a new report from Quartz, he is currently considering individuals who might be a better fit for the department.
“Names being discussed inside the White House,” reports Quartz, “include Tom Cotton, the senator from Arkansas, energy secretary Rick Perry, and Thomas Homan, the retiring head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Cotton and Perry were also considered for the position previously.”
Trump is probably reluctant to make a change, simply because there has already been so much change at the top levels of his administration. Nielsen’s successor would be the third person to head up DHS alone. Still, Trump has proven that he’s not shy about firing anyone who isn’t carrying out his agenda to its fullest, and it can be argued that Nielsen has stumbled since taking the reins over at Homeland Security. She is someone who rose to political prominence in the Bush administration, and you don’t need a degree in political science to know that the Bush “way” on immigration has little to do with the Trump way.
On the other hand, the major obstacles Trump is facing on immigration are to be found in Congress, not the top of Homeland Security. Nielsen has done some admirable things since taking the position, and that includes implementing those aspects of Trump’s agenda that CAN be implemented given the current political environment. What she cannot do is fund the border wall. What she cannot do is unilaterally put an end to chain migration. What she cannot do is force states like California to abide by federal law. These are jobs not just beyond Nielsen but beyond ANYONE that Trump might put in the job.
Is Nielsen 100% on board with Trump’s immigration agenda? We can’t say. But we do know that without the right kind of legislation from Capitol Hill, that agenda will never been seen to its ultimate fruition.