Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will be remembered for overseeing a grotesquely abusive and horrifying tenure for her department as she drove forward and defended President Donald Trump’s vicious anti-immigrant agenda. But according to a new report from the Daily Beast, she saw herself as one of the more moderate members of the president team.

She clashed most with Trump policy aide and speechwriter Stephen Miller, who once worked for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to the report. While he thought she wasn’t tough enough on immigrants, she apparently saw him as a bigot.

“Miller thought Nielsen was a soft-on-the-border Bushie [as in President George W.] and she thought he was a egomaniacal lunatic who hated brown people,” a former top Trump official told the Daily Beast. “Needless to say, that made for awkward moments in the Oval [Office] and Cabinet Room.”

They added that the pair clearly had a “mutual disgust” for one another.

Under Nielsen, the department has continued a harsh crackdown on immigrants. Most notoriously, it embraced the separation of immigrant families pushed by the Justice Department’s zero-tolerance policy. This has affected a still untold number of kids, inflicting brutal and enduring trauma and subjecting them to abominable conditions. It was a blatant abuse of human rights. And exacerbating the initial harm and wrongdoing, the administration, it has been revealed, has no plan for ever reuniting many of these families. Nielsen has aggressively defended these actions to the public and to Congress — even brashly saying that there was no policy of separating families, when the administration was completely aware that this was the effect and the point of the zero-tolerance push.

But multiple reports have now found that, as horrifying as Nielsen’s tenure at Homeland Security has been, she opposed Trump on other extreme measures. The New York Times reported that Trump told her to bar all immigrants including asylum-seekers from entering at the U.S.-Mexico border, but she refused because it would be against the law.

As some try to defend Nielsen’s outrageous time at Homeland Security and polish her image, it’s important to remember just how bad things have gotten. But it seems that without her, it could get even worse

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.