Ending what could well be one of the more tumultuous tenures during the Trump administration in a crowded field of contenders, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tendered her resignation letter to President Donald Trump late Sunday evening.
“I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside,” Ms. Nielsen said in a resignation letter. “I hope that the next secretary will have the support of Congress and the courts in fixing the laws which have impeded our ability to fully secure America’s borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation’s discourse.”
All reports indicate that Nielsen’s resignation was not her idea and followed quite a bit of conflict of philosophy between her and President Trump as to how the job really should be done in securing the southern border and stopping the flow of illegal aliens, drugs and more across the porous divide.
Mr. Trump in recent weeks had asked Ms. Nielsen to close the ports of entry along the border and to stop accepting asylum seekers, which Ms. Nielsen found ineffective and inappropriate. While the 30-minute meeting was cordial, Mr. Trump was determined to ask for her resignation. After the meeting, she submitted it.
The move comes just two days after Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly expressed anger at a rise in migrants at the southwestern border, withdrew his nominee to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement because he wanted the agency to go in a “tougher” direction.
The president wasted little time in naming an interim secretary as there currently is not a deputy secretary in Homeland Security. Under normal circumstances, that person would take the reigns until a new secretary could be confirmed.
The president said in a tweet that Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, would take over as the acting replacement for Ms. Nielsen, who became the sixth secretary to lead the agency in late 2017. But by law, the under secretary for management, Claire Grady, who is currently serving as acting deputy secretary, is next in line to be acting secretary. The White House will have to fire her to make Mr. McAleenan acting secretary, people familiar with the transition said. Ms. Grady has told colleagues that she has no intention of resigning to make way for Mr. McAleenan.
Which, of course, sets up a fascinating scenario for the coming days as the immigration fight once again takes center stage in the swamp we call the nation’s capital.
Kirstjen Nielsen submits a resignation letter.
But she was forced out, I’m told by several sources. This resignation was *not* her idea. https://t.co/M4ILrm72vP
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) April 7, 2019