The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a post that opened after John Kelly became Trump’s chief of staff earlier this year.
Senators voted 62-37 to confirm Kirstjen Nielsen, formerly Kelly’s deputy in the White House and his chief of staff when he led DHS. She is considered a cyber security expert and previously served in the administration of Republican President George W. Bush.
Nielsen, 45, will take the reins of a department with more than 240,000 employees responsible for immigration enforcement, U.S. border and airport security, disaster response, and protecting U.S. infrastructure from cyber attacks.
The agency is at the center of Trump’s efforts to enact broad changes to the U.S. immigration system.
Elaine Duke, a civil servant and the DHS deputy secretary, had been serving as acting secretary since Kelly’s departure for the White House in July.
In the last five months she ha been responsible for several controversial DHS decisions, including the end of temporary protected status for thousands of immigrants living in the United States. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a DHS entity, came under criticism for its response to the humanitarian disaster wrought by Hurricane Maria when it struck Puerto Rico in September.
In a statement, Duke said she looked forward to working as Nielsen’s deputy, and said Nielsen has “a deep understanding of the issues facing the Department.”
Eleven Democrats voted with nearly all Republicans to confirm Nielsen. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander did not vote, and no Republicans voted against her confirmation.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, said in a statement that Nielsen would bring “the expertise and leadership needed to successfully run the Department.”
Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson said in a statement that Nielsen had not yet shown “she has the ability to lead a workforce of 240,000 while keeping the country safe and secure,” and said DHS had so far been used as a “political tool of the White House.”
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Rick Cowan in WashingtonEditing by Sandra Maler)
Stephen Colbert hilariously mocks Oklahoma governor ‘Stitt for brains’ for catching COVID-19 after ignoring masks
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) revealed Wednesday that he is positive for the coronavirus. It could have been the exposure he incurred at the Trump rally. Or it could have been all of those times he went out without a mask saying he was "social distancing." Either way, it was something "A Late Show" host Stephen Colbert found to be a hilarious example of schadenfreude.
"All the people in charge who told us the pandemic wasn't a big deal are looking big dumb right now like Oklahoma governor and chunky Dracula Kevin Stitt, cuz remember Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma full of unmasked open mouth screamers," said Colbert. "Lots of people called it a terrible idea, said it should be canceled. Not Governor Stitt."
The problem isn’t the campaign manager — it’s Trump: Republican analyst
Switching up the campaign manager four months before the election when the latest poll shows you 12 points down has nothing to do with the campaign's leadership, Republican analyst Amanda Carpenter explained on CNN Wednesday.
"The problem isn't that Donald Trump has a bad campaigner," said Carpenter in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon. "They're raising tons of money. They have a boatload of surrogates. The problem is that he has a bad presidency. And no one -- no one, no spin master, not Kellyanne Conway, not Brad Parscale can spin the most important number of this election, and that's -- at present, 137,000 dead and rising. And so what we need to see if Donald Trump wants to turn this around is to turn around his white house. And I have four words of advice: More Fauci, less Kayleigh."
Here’s what you need to know about Bill Stepien — the man who just took over Trump’s fledgling campaign
President Donald Trump announced that his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is being shoved out of his role given the failures the campaign has suffered over the past seven months.
In his place, for now, at least, will be Bill Stepien.
If that name sounds familiar, it may be because Stepien was part of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Bridgegate scandal, where, as punishment to Mayor Mark Sokolich, two of three toll lanes were closed during a Monday morning rush hour and weren't reopened until Friday.
The court case quoted Bill Stepien's name over 700 times, including an email in which he claimed, "It will be a tough November for this little Serbian." The mayor was born in Fort Lee, and his lineage isn't Serbian, it's actually Croatian.