Trump To Nominate John Kelly Deputy As Next DHS Chief

John Kelly

Nielsen served as DHS chief of staff to former Secretary John Kelly until he was moved to the White House in July to be President Trump's chief of staff, and she followed him there as his principal deputy chief of staff. The Washington Post and Associated Press later published similar reports, as did other outlets.

The White House says Nielsen has "extensive professional experience in the areas of homeland security policy and strategy, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure and emergency management".

News that she was viewed as one of Kelly's enforcers - someone who brought structure to the day-to-day operations at the White House, though some were frustrated by her direct style and role in limiting access to meetings and the Oval Office.

Nielsen had been Kelly's chief of staff when he was secretary of Homeland Security and followed him to the White House, serving as his principal deputy there. "It's a little concerning that she seems to have little background in immigration security and policy, but those individual agencies are in good hands already, and there is a strong core of career managers", said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, which favours more limits on immigration.

"She would be the first person to run the department who has actually worked there", one person close to the Trump administration told Politico.

The trust Kelly has in Nielsen will be crucial because, if confirmed, she'll have plenty on her plate. The department also is responsible for US border security.

"Kirstjen can hit the ground running and there won't be a learning curve", Ridge said. "I think her no-nonsense, business-like manner is what earned the confidence, first of General Kelly, and now the President".

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