DHS chief sees working for Trump as almost impossible task: report

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer Four heated moments from House hearing on conditions at border facilities MORE has privately complained that working for President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE is "almost an impossible task" according to administration officials and others who spoke to the The Washington Post and are said to be familiar with her thinking. 

The report also said Nielsen, who was reportedly berated by the president in front of other Cabinet members over the subject of border enforcement, thinks that President Trump doesn't understand the "nuances" of immigration law.


“The president has a very rudimentary understanding of what the border is all about and how you secure it,” one former staffer at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who worked with Nielsen told the Post. “And she’s also not one of the border fire-eaters that have his ear right now. She’s in an impossible, no-win situation.”

A DHS spokesperson told the Post that Nielsen and the president are "on the same page" and "any accusations to the contrary are simply false."

The report comes just two weeks after The New York Times reported that Nielsen was close to resigning after Trump berated her during a Cabinet meeting.

A DHS spokesperson strongly denied that report.

The Washington Post reported multiple private Oval Office meetings where Trump criticized Nielsen's ability to implement his policies. Trump reportedly blamed Nielsen for an increase in border crossings and chastised her in front of chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, who reportedly defended her and has done so in other meetings. Nielsen was Kelly's chief of staff while Kelly served as Trump's first secretary of Homeland Security.

The report details Nielsen’s tumultuous relationship with Trump and other White House advisers, characterizing Kelly as her “only friend” in the administration.

According to the Post, Trump has been relentless in his criticism of Nielsen over what he sees as a lack of progress on immigration and border security.

Administration officials defended the relationship between Trump and Nielsen. 

The White House senior policy adviser on immigration, Stephen Miller, told the Post that Nielsen is “vigorously advancing the president’s agenda” on immigration.

“She knows the threat, understands the threat, and is undertaking bold action to confront it head-on,” Miller said.