Kirstjen Nielsen's former colleague shocked at her transformation into an anti-immigrant 'Cruella de Vil'
Kirstjen Nielsen speaks to reporters (CNN/screen grab)

Kirstjen Nielsen has become the face of the immigration crisis -- and at least one former associate of the Department of Homeland Security secretary is stunned by her behavior.

In an article published Wednesday, Politico interviewed some former colleagues of Nielsen.

During a heated White House briefing, Nielsen defended the Trump administration policy of prosecuting all immigrants crossing the border, which resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their parents.

"This almost Cruella de Vil press conference that she held was shocking to those of us who know her," said Arick Wierson, who was a classmate of Nielsen’s at Georgetown University. "That’s not the Kirstjen we know."

Nielsen had claimed that only Congress could prevent immigrant families from being separated. But she later drafted an executive order aimed at keeping families together.

Thad Bingel, a founding partner of Command Consulting who worked with Nielsen during the Bush administration, told Politico that he thinks Nielsen intentionally inserted herself into the controversy over Trump's zero tolerance policy.

“She really doesn’t care about getting credit, or in some cases the blame, just that the right result happens," he explained.