CNN's Toobin: Nielsen will be remembered as 'the woman who put children in cages'

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Monday said departing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenEx-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' MORE will be remembered by people as “the woman who put children in cages.”

Speaking in an appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” Toobin reacted to the latest official's exit from the Trump administration, a move that was announced Sunday.


“Kirstjen Nielsen, I think, is a great example of what happens when you go to work for Donald Trump,” Toobin said. “He is the great reputation killer. Here is this woman who was a reasonably admired bureaucrat. For the rest of her life people will look at her and think, 'Oh, that's the woman who put children in cages.'”

He added that he thought people who did identify her in that way would “be right. Because she implemented that policy.”


During her tenure as the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Nielsen enforced Trump's “zero-tolerance” policy for people who were caught crossing the border illegally. Under the policy, all border crossers are referred for prosecution and consistently jailed while awaiting trial. While being held, they would often be separated from their children, leaving thousands of minors to be held in facilities away from their parents and family members. 

The family separation policy drew widespread backlash, and ultimately the Trump administration decided to reverse some aspects of the policy.

Nielsen’s departure from DHS was announced Sunday by Trump on Twitter. The president added that Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, will serve as the acting head of DHS until a permanent replacement is nominated.

Nielsen said Sunday night in a post on Twitter that she would remain with DHS through Wednesday to “assist with an orderly transition.”