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)
Iran says seized British-flagged tanker ‘free’ to leave
Iran said on Monday that a British-flagged oil tanker is "free" to leave more than two months after it was seized in the Gulf.
"The legal process has finished and based on that the conditions for letting the oil tanker go free have been fulfilled and the oil tanker can move," government spokesman Ali Rabiei told a news conference.
He did not specify when the Swedish-owned vessel would be allowed to set sail.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps surrounded the Stena Impero with attack boats before rappelling onto the deck of the tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19.
MSNBC’s Morning Joe fact-checks Trump’s ‘slimy’ lies about Biden: ‘He’s rigging the election!’
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough threw cold water on President Donald Trump's accusations against Joe Biden, as the Ukraine scandal continues to widen.
The "Morning Joe" host ripped the president for pressuring Ukraine's president to dig up dirt on Biden and then leaning on states to cancel Republican primaries to snuff out three challengers' campaigns.
"You talk about an inside game, rigging the process, and we talked about how Donald Trump is rigging the process on the Republican side to make sure that as many states as possible cancel democratic elections for the primary," Scarborough said. "I mean, he's learning from Vladimir Putin the way you get 100 percent of the vote is you just cancel the elections, and that's what Donald Trump is getting Republican operatives to do across the country."
Trump condemned for moving to ‘roll back the clock’ as letter exposes his attempt to form anti-abortion UN coalition
"It's not just abortion that they care about, they care about women's ability to exercise autonomy over their bodies and about denying them critical access to the services they need."
Global women's rights advocates raised alarm Monday after a leaked letter showed the Trump administration is pressuring U.N. member nations to join an international anti-abortion coalition.