Just four short months ago, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen seemed undoubtedly bound for the meat grinder of President Donald Trump’s disapproval, set to receive a career-ending tweet any day.
Now, per Politico, Nielsen has as much one-on-one time with Trump as any other Cabinet official, has been working close to the White House to be available at a moment’s notice, and has received the begrudging respect of a President myopically interested in one part of her department’s sprawling responsibilities.
Some attribute her ability to juggle Trump’s pet projects and her own interests within DHS — like cybersecurity — to former Chief of Staff John Kelly’s absence, per Politico. Without him, she’s been able to forge her own personal relationship with the President and calm him down about the border and illegal immigration.
One of her strategies to deal with the mercurial and temperamental Trump is reportedly to omit the word “no” from her vocabulary. Even when his demands are far-fetched and display a misunderstanding of the issue at hand, she presents an array of options instead of shutting him down altogether, Politico reported.