John Kelly repeatedly called Homeland Security a ‘mess’: report

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Former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who also once served as secretary of Homeland Security, repeatedly called the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a “mess” while working in the Trump administration. 

The Washington Post, citing a former senior administration official, reported on Wednesday night that Kelly regularly made the complaint about DHS while working as chief of staff and during his time as Homeland Security secretary.

Kelly led DHS from January to July of 2017 before becoming Trump’s chief of staff. 

{mosads}The anecdote about Kelly comes as part of an expansive report about how DHS’s mission has shifted under Trump. The newspaper reported that Trump and White House adviser Stephen Miller have grown impatient with the agency. 

Miller has reportedly argued that DHS should be reorganized, saying it doesn’t make sense for the agency to have so many different parts. He’s called the agency a “total problem.”

But the Post, citing two officials, noted that a reorganization effort never made it to Trump’s desk because no one seemed interested in “spending enough capital on it.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Multiple officials abruptly departed DHS earlier this month, including Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. NBC News reported that a recent push from Trump to renew a family separation policy at the border led to Nielsen’s ouster. Nielsen had reportedly resisted the directive, straining her relationship with the president. 

She was followed by the exits of Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles and DHS acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady. Grady’s resignation has paved the way for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) head Kevin McAleenan to become the new acting DHS secretary.

Ron Vitiello, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also resigned from his position last week after Trump abruptly pulled his nomination. 

Kelly endured a rocky relationship with Trump during his time in the administration, which included 17 months as chief of staff. He frequently told aides that Trump wasn’t up for the task of president, according to The New York Times.

Tags chief of staff Department of Homeland Security Immigration John Kelly Kirstjen Nielsen Stephen Miller
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