Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation on a late Sunday afternoon triggered a frenzy of speculation, with Democrats applauding her exit while some pundits warned that her replacement could be someone more hard line on immigration. Her departure had been repeatedly rumored over the past year, particularly after a wave of anger over the administration's 2018 family separation policy at the border with Mexico. She wrote that she hoped "the next secretary will have the support of Congress and the courts in fixing the laws which have impeded our ability to fully secure America's borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation's discourse". This is the narrative emerging after Nielsen resigned from her position on Sunday-reportedly at the urging of the president.
Prior to becoming DHS secretary, Nielsen was Kelly's chief of staff at the agency - which has an annual budget of more than $40 billion and employs almost a quarter of a million people in multiple subdivisions.
Mr. Trump and Stephen Miller, his top immigration adviser, have privately but regularly complained about Ms. Nielsen.
Once Kelly left the White House, Nielsen's days appeared to be numbered, and she had expected to be pushed out last November.
For some Trump critics, this was yet another example of the chaos that supposedly reigns in the White House. Some policies she pursued on Trump's orders - such as family separation - proved to be fiascos and created public relations headaches, even if the Obama administration had done numerous same things.
When pressed, one White House official said there was a feeling in the West Wing that it was "just time" for Trump and Nielsen to part ways after bumping heads on numerous occasions during her 16-month tenure.
Her department was responsible for implementing the proposed border wall and the separation of migrant families, and she became the face of the controversial moves. More than half were families with children. Two children in USA detention died late past year and hundreds of families are still being separated. But she was also instrumental in ending the policy.
Uhhh... WTF?! Blocking immigrants from claiming ASYLUM? And it's up to the secretary of Homeland Security to come up with better ideas about how to keep illegals - who are primarily economic migrants but understand how to exploit the asylum laws and think Trump is powerless to stop them - from getting into the country.
Neilsen, whose background is in cybersecurity, also angered Trump by adopting a hard line on the "Russia rigged the election" narrative - which has lost considerable steam in the aftermath of the report of USA special counsel Robert Mueller being released. "She had a background in cyber security".