After months of contention with President Donald Trump, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is reportedly being forced out of her position soon, five current and former officials said in a Washington Post report published Monday.
Nielsen’s departure is reportedly expected as soon as this week, The Post said. The newspaper reported that Trump told aides he wants her out of her role as soon as possible. Nielsen served in her role for nearly one year, after replacing White House chief of staff John Kelly in December 2017.
The department’s press secretary said in a statement to Business Insider that Nielsen was honored to serve in the Trump administration and was committed to continuing her service.
“The Secretary is honored to lead the men and women of DHS and is committed to implementing the President’s security-focused agenda to protect Americans from all threats and will continue to do so,” the press secretary said.
Nielsen’s role in the Trump administration has been uncertain for some time. She reportedly drafted a resignation letter in May. Trump is believed to have berated her in front of other cabinet officials over his belief that she did a poor job securing the US-Mexico border, former officials said in a New York Times report.
Nielsen, who is the leading authority in curbing illegal immigration, said she shared Trump’s frustration after news of her alleged letter was made public. A Homeland Security spokesperson later denied the claims of the alleged letter to Business Insider.
“Border security is the most basic and necessary responsibility of a sovereign nation,” Nielsen’s statement said, following the news of her letter.
Nielsen’s colleagues said she was unhappy in her role for several months, and Trump has expressed interest in considering candidates to replace her, The Post reported.
“If I were advising the White House I’d encourage them to nominate someone with executive branch experience,” one senior Homeland Security official said to The Post. “This will be our fourth secretary in two years. The last thing we want is someone who needs hand-holding.”
Nielsen previously worked as White House deputy chief of staff. She also served with the Bush administration’s Homeland Security Council.