'Volatile' Trump 'verbally and emotionally' abused ex-DHS secretary Nielsen because she refused his 'illegal' demand to close US-Mexico border
From former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, President Donald Trump has made life miserable for many of the Republicans who have been part of his administration. And the forthcoming Philip Rucker/Carol Leonnig book “A Very Stable Genius: Donald Trump’s Testing of America,” according to The Guardian’s David Smith, shows that there was also considerable tension between Trump and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
The Guardian has obtained a copy of the book, which has a January 21 release date on Amazon — and Smith reports that Trump believed Nielsen wasn’t tough enough when it came to U.S/Mexico border policy. Nielsen became secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in December 2017 and resigned in April 2019.
“In some instances,” Rucker and Leonnig write in the book, “the volatile president was verbally and emotionally abusive toward Nielsen. ‘Kirstjen, you’re just not tough enough,’ Trump would tell her. Trump complained Nielsen did not ‘look the part’ of Homeland Security secretary.”
Trump, according to Rucker and Leonnig, “made fun of” Nielsen and “believed that at about five feet four inches, she was not physically intimidating. ‘She’s so short,’ Trump would tell others about Nielsen.”
Nielsen served as Homeland Security secretary when Sessions was still attorney general. Trump, who fired Sessions after the 2018 midterms, was furious with him for recusing himself from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation — and according to Rucker and Leonnig, one of the things that Sessions did in the hope of getting back in Trump’s good graces was urging Trump to close the U.S./Mexico border. Nielsen, however, disagreed with Sessions’ recommendation, believing it would be terrible economically.
Rucker and Leonnig write, “Turning to Nielsen at the far end of the table, (Trump) 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.”
Trump, according to Rucker and Leonnig, repeatedly “harassed” and “pestered” Nielsen over his desire to close the U.S./Mexico border — and Trump would get especially fired up after hearing Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs ranting about illegal immigration.
Trump, Rucker and Leonig write, “would routinely call Nielsen to say a version of ‘Did you see Lou Dobbs? You’re totally fucking embarrassing me. This is my issue’…. Sometimes, Trump would refer to one of Dobbs’ proposals and say, ‘Kirstjen, just do it. Just do it.’”