Homeland Security Chief Was Close To Resigning After Trump Tirade

Donald Trump and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen told staffers that she almost submitted her resignation Wednesday after President Trump reprimanded her in front of the entire cabinet, several officials familiar told the New York Times.

The exchange was so hostile, according to The New York Times, that Nielsen later informed colleagues that she planned to leave the administration and drafted a resignation letter, though she did not submit it. According to the story, which broke the news of the harangue, Trump's abuse of his Homeland Security director "was part of a lengthy tirade in which the president railed at his cabinet about what he said was its lack of progress toward sealing the country's borders against illegal immigrants".

One person familiar with Trump's blowup at the meeting said it was prompted by a discussion about why Mexico was not doing more to prevent illegal border crossings into the United States.

When pressed on Trump's remarks, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Times that "the president is committed to fixing our broken immigration system and our porous borders".

"The President is rightly frustrated that existing loopholes and the lack of Congressional action have prevented this administration from fully securing the border and protecting the American people", Nielsen's statement said.

He declined to say whether Nielsen had been treated fairly in the meeting, saying only, "We had a good Cabinet meeting", during a brief question-and-answer session in the White House Rose Garden.

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman denied specific details of the report, including that she had already drafted a resignation letter, and that she was close to resigning.

Trump won the 2016 election largely on his promise to crack down on illegal immigration and build a wall that would totally shut down the flow of immigrants. "The Secretary is hard at work today on the President's security-focused agenda and supporting the men and women of @DHSgov", Houlton wrote. Another report from Politico noted that Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with Nielsen, and the knives may be coming out for her.

Along with the some 700,000 Dreamers brought to the USA illegally as children, who Trump stripped of protection in September, about one million people who were once legal residents in the country face potential deportation.

The secretary added, "Border security is the most basic and necessary responsibility of a sovereign nation".

This has not been the first time Trump has berated his cabinet officials.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week announced a new "zero-tolerance" policy toward people who enter the United States illegally that may cause more separations. This "tantrum" went on for 30 minutes, which it noted was unusually long for one of Trump's anger outbursts, and left other officials in the room feeling uncomfortable.

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