The wipeout of the House GOP was always going to be followed by a wipeout of Trump cabinet members and other senior officials. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is already gone, fired by Trump and replaced by a crony who will tell Dear Leader what he wants and let the courts figure it out, and WH counsel Don McGahn left in October.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly are expected to be gone in the next few weeks, Zinke and Ross are guaranteed to face House Democratic investigations over corruption and misuse of funds, so Trump will jettison them. Kelly has long been rumored to want out, and he will, just as soon as he's done being Trump's hatchet man and firing everyone else.
The next person on that list however may be current Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who is not expected to survive the month.
President Trump has told advisers he has decided to remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and her departure from the administration is likely to occur in the coming weeks, if not sooner, according to five current and former White House officials.
Trump canceled a planned trip with Nielsen this week to visit U.S. troops at the border in South Texas and told aides over the weekend that he wants her out as soon as possible, these officials said. The president has grumbled for months about what he views as Nielsen’s lackluster performance on immigration enforcement and is believed to be looking for a replacement who will implement his policy ideas with more alacrity.
The announcement could come as soon as this week, three of these officials said.
Trump has changed his mind on key personnel decisions before, and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly is fighting Nielsen’s pending dismissal and attempting to postpone it, aides say. But Kelly’s future in the administration also is shaky, according to three White House officials.
DHS officials who work with Nielsen declined to address her potential departure Monday. “The Secretary is honored to lead the men and women of DHS and is committed to implementing the President’s security-focused agenda to protect Americans from all threats and will continue to do so,” spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton said in a statement.
Nielsen has been reluctant to leave the administration before reaching the one-year mark as secretary on Dec. 6, but she has been unhappy in the job for several months, according to colleagues. Trump has berated her during Cabinet meetings, belittled her to other White House staff and tagged her months ago as a “Bushie,” a reference to her previous service under President George W. Bush and meant to cast suspicion on her loyalty.
When Nielsen has tried to explain the laws and regulations that prevent the government from drastically curtailing immigration or closing the border with Mexico, as Trump has suggested, the president has grown impatient and frustrated, aides said.
It's that last part there that should concern everyone. Nielsen was Kelly's personal choice for the position after Kelly left DHS to become WH Chief of Staff, and she dared to tell Trump "no" when it came to shutting down the border completely and mass deporting people.
Expect her replacement to be much more sanguine about kids in cages in camps, tens of thousands in ICE custody becoming hundreds of thousands, and more troops on the southern border because that will be the job description.