WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has told advisers he has decided to remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and her departure from the administration is likely to occur in the coming weeks, if not sooner, according to five current and former White House officials.
Trump canceled a planned trip with Nielsen this week to visit U.S. troops at the border in south Texas and told aides over the weekend he wants her out as soon as possible, these officials said. The president has grumbled for months about what he views as Nielsen's lackluster performance on immigration enforcement and is believed to be looking for a replacement who will implement his policy ideas with more alacrity.
The announcement could come as soon as this week, three of these officials said.
Trump has changed his mind on key personnel decisions before, and Chief of Staff John Kelly is fighting Nielsen's pending dismissal and attempting to postpone it, aides say. But Kelly's future in the administration also is shaky.
Nielsen has been reluctant to leave the administration before reaching the one-year mark as secretary on Dec. 6, but she has been unhappy in the job for several months, according to colleagues.