Trump Routinely “Harassed” And “Abused” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
President Donald Trump “abused,” “harassed,” and “pestered” his then homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, over immigation policy, according to The Guardian.
A newly published book, A Very Stable Genius written by the Washington Post journalists Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, details Trump’s habitual attacks on the former DHS secretary, who was sworn in in December 2017, succeeding John Kelly, who became White House chief of staff.
“In some instances, the volatile president was verbally and emotionally abusive toward Nielsen,” the authors write. “‘Kirstjen, you’re just not tough enough,’ Trump would tell her. Trump complained Nielsen did not ‘look the part’ of homeland security secretary.”
“He made fun of her and believed that at about five feet four inches she was not physically intimidating. ‘She’s so short,’ Trump would tell others about Nielsen. She and Kelly would try to make light of it. Kelly would rib her and say, ‘But you’ve got those little fists of fury!’”
The book describes a cabinet meeting in May 2018 where Trump berated Nielsen in front of two dozen administration officials over an increase in illegal border crossings.
At the time, then attorney general Jeff Sessions sought to regain Trump’s favor and said: “I just think we’re not being tough enough. I think we need to shut down the border.”
Rucker and Leonnig write: “Trump concurred and, turning to Nielsen at the far end of the table, asked, ‘Why haven’t you shut down the border?’ It was more of an admonition than a question. Nielsen knew this would be illegal, not to mention economically disastrous because it could choke off trade routes.”
“‘I’m not sure what we are saying here,’ Nielsen said. ‘As the attorney general knows, people have a legal right to cross the border and try to claim asylum. That’s just the law.’ Trump looked back at Sessions. ‘No,’ Sessions said, ‘we should just shut the border down.’”
“Trump was so worked up that some attendees thought he look manic,” the authors go on. “Kelly silently shook his head at Nielsen to signal to her to stop engaging with the president. [Jared] Kushner made eye contact with Nielsen and moved his finger across his neck to signal to her to cut it off.”
Trump continued his bullying behavior toward Nielsen for the rest of the year. He “harassed” her with angry phone calls sometimes as early as 5am, and “pestered” her late at night.
Within a year, Nielsen, Kelly, and Sessions would all be gone.