President Trump will make his official selection for the Department of Homeland Security secretary as early as Wednesday, sources report. The position has been vacant since July when John F. Kelly left the department to serve as the president's chief of staff.
Now, reports are claiming that President Trump has unofficially selected Kirstjen Nielsen as Kelly's replacement. Nielsen is a top White House aide and previously served as a homeland security official during George W. Bush's administration.
According to the New York Times, Kelly had originally asked Nielsen to serve as his chief of staff when he was the lead at the Homeland Security department. When he became President Trump's chief of staff, however, he asked Nielsen to join him in the West Wing.
Now, Nielsen will return back to the DHS. While her transfer from the West Wing will be a loss, the DHS will be gaining a leader who reportedly has a deep understanding of immigration enforcement, disaster response, and cybersecurity.
John F. Kelly had pushed hard for Nielsen to be chosen for the position. Other former colleagues commended her for her hard work ethic as well.
Michael Allen, who worked with Nielsen in the Bush administration, said, "She's a total homeland security expert- absolutely has no learning curve. She's an experienced manager, she's an implementer, she knows how to get under the hood and figure out what needs to be connected to what."
Her former boss, Frances Townsend, said, "She is tough as nails, competent and has rightly earned the president's respect."
Nielsen graduated from Georgetown School of Foreign Service and received a law degree from the University of Virginia. She later worked as a member of the Resilience Task Force of the Center for Cyber & Homeland Security think tank.
45-year-old Nielsen was a key player in President Trump's immigration policy and travel ban. The congressional source that originally said that Nielsen was being considered said that she "has Kelly's full faith and confidence."
NBC News reported that some of the other candidates for the position were House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul and acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke.
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