Which Stephen Miller Will Replace Kirstjen Nielsen At DHS? (Stephen Miller)
The Baby Cager has left the building. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has finally been quitfired because, at the end of the day, she just wasn't horrible enough. After separating thousands of children from their parents, tear gassing babies, causing the deaths of two children, lying to Congress, and breaking the law in countless ways, Donald Trump is sticking a shiv in her for being insufficiently cruel. Tough break, kid.
All Trump asked was that she refuse to allow terrified people fleeing violence to present themselves for asylum claims at the border. The New York Times reports:
The president called Ms. Nielsen at home early in the mornings to demand that she take action to stop migrants from entering the country, including doing things that were clearly illegal, such as blocking all migrants from seeking asylum. She repeatedly noted the limitations imposed on her department by federal laws, court settlements and international obligations.
Look, when your boss orders you to violate American law and the Geneva Convention, you bloody well do it, right? Good help is so hard to find!
Nielsen may not end up at the Hague, since we never ratified it, but this shit will follow her for the rest of her life. And for those of you speculating that Krysssjiee will have a soft landing as a political commentator, we say HAHAHA, have you seen this woman on television? She makes American Gothic look like a Pixar movie!
Even before her rabbi left the building, Nielsen was on thin ice. As John Kelly's second in command, she'd earned the ire of Jared Kushner by enforcing rules about access to the president. No one puts Vanky in the corner! CNN reports that she'd gotten similarly crosswise with Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and National Security Adviser John Bolton. And Nielsen's flat refusal to put babies' heads on pikes to ward off refugees at major points of entry made an enemy of Stephen Miller. (Probably.) In sum, all the white dudes wanted to ditch that sissy girl who was always whining about laws 'n' shit and replace her with another white dude. Miller engineered the defenestration of Nielsen's ally Ron Vitiello as head of ICE last week because he wasn't "tough" enough, and after that it only took one little push to send Nielsen tumbling.
At the end of the day, the source said, Nielsen could not make Trump happy with her performance on the border. This source said Trump might as well name Miller as the next DHS secretary. "He's the one driving the policy," the source added.
Obviously Miller would never make it through a confirmation hearing -- exposure to light for that long would turn him into a pile of ashes -- so they need another white dude in there who'll break the law, or at least wave his penis at Trump in convincing fashion as he mansplains why it can't be done. Longterm prospects include Rick "Ooops" Perry, Ken "No Buttsexx" Cuccinelli, and Kris "Continuing Legal Education" Kobach, who would be difficult to get confirmed, but the nomination might tie him up long enough to stop him tanking another election in Kansas for the GOP. Douchebros, start your engines!
In the meantime, Trump has put CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan in charge. Title 6 U.S. Code § 113(g)(1)6 U.S. Code § 113(g)(1) specifically provides that Undersecretary for Management Claire Grady gets the job if the position of DHS Secretary becomes vacant. But LOL, NO 'GINAS ALLOWED! Luckily, the White House realized their mistake and unfired Nielsen for a hot second so she could change the succession rules.
Oh, George! You've been at this long enough to know that the law doesn't apply to the Trump administration. (See: Whitaker, Matthew.) By the time the courts get around to calling it illegal, the White House will have rammed some other hack through the Senate confirmation process, and the whole thing will be moot.
As for McAleenan, he's not the worst choice in the world. (That would be Kobach, obvs.) He's a lawyer who's risen through the ranks at CBP. And he's on record saying that, although he disagrees with the law preventing detention of families for longer than 20 days, he acknowledges that his agency is actually bound by it.
McAleenan's experience at the southern border won't make him any better prepared than Nielsen to run point on domestic and international terrorism threats -- which is, after all, the broad mandate of the Department of Homeland Security. But maybe he'll have better luck convincing Trump that you can't just shoot migrants as a deterrent. He does, after all, have a penis and broad shoulders. And really, what better qualification could there be?
Which probably means McAleenan will be in the job for zero days before Stephen Miller picks himself.
It worked for Dick Cheney.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.