Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Opinion | April 8, 2019) – With Sunday evening’s sudden departure of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, followed by the quick replacement of Kevin McAleenan as acting department of homeland security secretary, Trump may soon find that he’s inadvertently checkmated himself.
Trump isn’t a strategist. He relies on his gut. He lies. He’s hyperbolic. And he suffers from delusion. He’s now turned over nearly his entire cabinet in two short years. With an acting secretary leading the Department of Homeland Security, a department employing more than 240,000, caught in the confluence of several significant crises, it amounts to chaos.
Who is Kevin McAleenan? Mr. McAleenan was confirmed as by the Senate in 2018 as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He began his career with CBP in 2001 and served as Deputy Commissioner under Obama.
McAleenan is one of several acting secretaries. Additionally, we have Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
The truth is, not many will miss Kirstjen Nielsen. Her exit is reminiscent of Scott Pruitt’s and Steve Bannon’s departure. The American public is cheering. Nielsen will be remembered as a blind Trump loyalist. Complicit in her silence. Ripping apart thousands of traumatized families fleeing despotic regimes where they faced near certain death. Thousands of separated children were caged, many of whom have been sexually assaulted. And through it all, an overwhelming indifference to their plight, and the longterm psychological impact the trauma has inflicted on them. Stunningly, a recent report confirmed it will take at least two years to unite the children with their parents.
Kirstjen Nielsen was interviewed by Chris Cuomo during Cuomo Prime Time on Thursday evening April 4, 2019, the day before she met Trump at Calexico, CA and participated in a roundtable with law enforcement and border patrol. During the Cuomo Prime Time interview, Nielsen was a remade woman, speaking about the humanitarian crisis at the border and aligning herself with a newfound understanding about this grim reality. It’s unclear what elevated Nielsen’s altered position. Perhaps it was the recent leaked internal military memos about how senseless it is to waste the valuable time of troops and resources at the border, in light of the fact that there are so many other more dangerous crises.
Trump is storming ahead, undaunted by potential blowback. He now claims our country is “FULL.” Whereas, just a month ago on March 2, 2019 at CPAC, Trump announced we needed more immigrants to fill hundreds of thousands of job openings that currently can’t be filled.
“Captures”…? We capture terrorists, not asylum seekers.
It appears Trump’s gut isn’t informing him about the precarious position he now will find himself. With so many acting secretaries, it will be difficult for Trump to be considered a legitimate candidate in the 2020 election. The acting secretaries are a weak link. This issue alone may be all that’s needed to dethrone Trump.
Many whisper that Trump wants to keep his acting secretaries in order to prevent being ousted by his cabinet using the 25th Amendment. Yet, will he be tempted to fill the roles if an advisor explains the acting secretaries undermine his re-election chances? Finding candidates for the official secretary positions may prove impossible. How many are willing to give up their careers to work for Trump for a few months? Potential candidates now know how Trump operates, and what his agenda is, and what his expectations are, so it seems unlikely that the qualified will accept the opportunity. That leaves the unqualified. Can they even be confirmed now that 21 GOP Senators are up for re-election in 2020 and have found their voices?
Is this checkmate?
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