Trump berates DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen over border security

Posted May 12, 2018

According to The New York Times, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen nearly resigned Wednesday after a heated argument in which Trump allegedly berated her during a Cabinet meeting focused on immigration.

The episode, first reported by The New York Times, left Nielsen on the verge of resignation, according to the paper, which also said Nielsen, the former deputy White House chief of staff, had drafted - but not submitted - a resignation letter.

At the meeting, Trump railed against her for failing to stop illegal border crossings.

The New York Times reported Thursday that the president has growing increasingly angry with Nielsen over what he feels is the country's inability to adequately secure its border.

Nielsen also released her own statement, saying Trump was "rightly frustrated" about border security and that she shared his frustration.

The Times says Nielsen told colleagues after the meeting that "she should not continue in the job if the president did not view her as effective". Nielsen pushed back, saying her hands were tied on some issues by Congress and regulations. It was only a portion of a larger tirade in which he chided the cabinet for what he felt was an unsatisfactory level of progress in stopping illegal immigration and ensuring border security. "I share his frustration", Nielsen said, according to CNN. But Nielsen maintained her ground, citing the law in certain instances, the source said.

"The @nytimes article alleging that the Secretary drafted a resignation letter yesterday and was close to resigning is false", tweeted Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton.

"Border security is the most basic and necessary responsibility of a sovereign nation", she continued. "The laws in this country for immigration and illegal immigration are absolutely terrible".

Instead, she told the newspaper that she will "continue to direct the department to do all we can to implement the president's security-focused agenda" as head of almost 20,000 department employees. But this year, they have risen again.

A lingering belief that Trump has reportedly held onto was that Nielsen was resisting his idea of separating children from their families when they cross the US-Mexico border illegally.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump fervently pushed for immigration reform by outlining bold plans, including the construction of a massive wall stretching across the US-Mexico border.

A White House source, who requested to be anonymous, confirmed the incident and said the argument was "heated and angry".