What We Can Learn From Kirstjen Nielsen Leaving Homeland Security

John Sutter, Writer

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On April 7 at 6:02 PM, President Trump announced that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was stepping down. He stated that “ Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service[.]” This comes as scrutiny of the border increases. The acting head of Homeland Security is Kevin McAleenan, head of US Customs and Border Protection. After Ms. Nielsen resigned, he drops his nominee for head of US Customs and Border Protection, Ronald Vitiello. Trump told reporters, “We want to go in a tougher direction.”

Nielson’s resignation demonstrates a few things. First, it shows that Trump wants no difference of opinion with regard to policies in his administration. The past week Trump has made several proclamations about the Southern border. At first, he threatened to close it if Mexico did not stop all the drugs from coming into the country. He later backed down and just gave Mexico a one-year warning to stop all the drugs from coming into the Southern border. Second, it shows how hard it is to turn Trump’s statements into actual policies. Trump is known for making off-the-cuff remarks and expecting those remarks to be made into law. It fell to the Secretary of Homeland Security to turn those remarks into policy. First, it was John Kelly, then Nielsen, and now whoever Trump thinks is tough enough to handle the job. Nielsen had the same stance as Trump on immigration issues, so it is unlikely that the situation will stabilize politically once this person becomes the secretary if Trump can’t even agree with his own supporters. Third, it shows how hard it is to work for Trump. As stated before, Nielsen was nearly identical, with respect to policy, to Trump. Yet Trump made rather random statements about the Southern border, forcing Nielson to spin into action to make them into policy. Furthermore, Trump did not show her any respect. He blamed her for Congress not moving on immigration. This is not something that a person who understands and respects Nielsen’s job would say.

Nielsen’s time in the White House is over, but soon there will be a new secretary of homeland security. Who will it be? That is impossible to know. However, it would be naive to think that this person will have no troubles with Trump. Trump wants to be the only one running the show, but he is unable to do that, which means the revolving door of hiring and firing at the White House will continue to revolve.