Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, “told colleagues she was close to resigning” from that post after being yelled at by President Donald Trump, the New York Times reported Thursday.
The Times, citing “several” unnamed current and former officials “familiar with the incident,” said Trump yelled at Nielsen and others during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday about undocumented immigrants coming to the United States from Mexico.
Nielsen, the Times reported, “told associates after the meeting that she should not continue in the job if the president did not view her as effective.”
The Times’ sources said Trump believes Nielsen and others are “resisting his direction that parents should be separated from their children when families cross illegally into the United States.” Nielsen defended that very policy during Senate testimony Tuesday.
It’s not the first time a DHS head has reportedly threatened resignation in recent months. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke did the same in November, according to the Washington Post, over White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly pressuring her to end temporary protected status for undocumented Hondurans living in the United States.
Duke announced her retirement in February. On May 4, Nielsen announced her decision to terminate TPS for Hondurans, effective in 18 months.
The Times’ Astead Herndon noted that plenty of Trump administration officials have mastered what he called “the art of the fake resignation.”
— Astead (@AsteadWesley) May 10, 2018