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Ex-DHS head Kirstjen Nielsen leaves Atlantic Ideas Festival stage after outrage from grassroots movement

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Grassroots outrage apparently led Kirstjen Nielson, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, to bow out of the Atlantic Ideas Festival Friday—but it’s unlikely to represent more than a Phyrric victory over the mainstreaming of the President Donald Trump administration.

Critics pointed to Nielsen’s oversight of the department’s acceleration of Trump’s war on immigrants, including the administration’s family separation policy.

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“No one from Trump’s administration should get a soft landing to sanitize their actions while supporting and pushing forward a white nationalist, fascist agenda,” advocacy group CREDO Action said in a statement.

The Atlantic announced on September 17 that Nielsen would join the festival, where she would be interviewed about “the Trump administration’s immigration policy, which she implemented as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.”

The decision came under fire from progressives, who continued to criticize The Atlantic even after the company said on Twitter Friday that “Nielsen’s team has let us know that she is no longer able to participate in the interview.”

“Good—but she never should have been invited in the first place,” wrote daily kos author Gabe Ortiz. “Nielsen’s role in implementing the administration’s inhumane family separation policy will be remembered as one of the darkest times in modern U.S. history.”

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action agreed.

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“Glad she’s not getting this platform to rehabilitate her image, but she shouldn’t have ever been invited,” the group tweeted.

Voter advocacy group Voto Latino took aim at Nielsen, tweeting that the former secretary isn’t going to be able to rewrite her history.

“Kirstjen Nielsen, you don’t get to separate families, cause long-lasting trauma to our kids, and think you can walk away scot-free,” said Voto Latino. “We will not forget the harm you’ve caused to our community. You don’t get to rehabilitate your image.”

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Nielsen wasn’t the only former Trump official back in the spotlight this week. On Monday, former Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared on ABC‘s “Dancing With the Stars,” leading a number of progressives and liberals alike to denounce the network. And former Trump aide Corey Lewandowski appeared in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, where he stonewalled Democratic representatives, likely in contempt of the House—and was rewarded with an appearance on CNN the next morning. That, too, came in for criticism.

CREDO, in its statement, said that anyone wishing to launder Trump officials is on notice.

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“We will continue to lean on media conglomerates and other corporations to think twice about providing a platform to people who worked hand-in-hand with Trump to separate families, lock babies up in cages, and terrorize communities of color,” the group said. “Public backlash will be swift and powerful for anyone who tries to help rehabilitate the reputations of Trump’s top henchmen.”

However, the odds are in the favor of former Trump officials.

Former George W. Bush speechwriter and Iraq War advocate David Frum is an editor at The Atlantic and a mainstay at MSNBC alongside fellow unapologetic Iraq War booster and Bush ally Bill Kristol. Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, which used homophobic panic over gay marriage and Islamophobic vitriol to win W. another term, is a political analyst for ABC. Former Bush White House communications director Nicolle Wallace has a daily MSNBC show.

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If the architects and boosters of the Bush administration can that easily reintegrate into American life, it’s unlikely that Trump officials—to say nothing of Trump—will have any difficulty rejoining polite society after this administration is over.


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‘Rather than leading — he lies’: MSNBC panel says Trump is a ‘danger to the country’ because he can’t be trusted

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MSNBC commentators, former assistant US Attorney Maya Wiley and Rick Wilson, explained that President Donald Trump's most significant barrier is making it past his own lies to save America from the coronavirus.

"There's a case tonight being tested in Walton County, Florida. The heart of Trump country," said Wilson, referring to the panhandle county east of Pensacola. "That's not going to be something you can just walk away from if it turns out to be a real case. We're seeing these things popping up all over. The safe bet was always to say, 'This could be bad. We'll do everything we can to stop it.' But he can't stop himself from self-aggrandizing and lying about things. And it's actually -- setting aside my normal criticism of Trump -- this is a danger to the country that he is not a trustworthy person for the American people. Even people who like him now he BS's them all the time. Now, if he says it's not a problem and people are being hospitalized, it is a problem."

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Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’

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President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.

According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.

"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."

"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."

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Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical

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"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.

Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.

While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.

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