- Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly drafted a resignation letter after President Donald Trump berated her in front of cabinet officials.
- Trump reportedly railed against Nielsen on Wednesday, saying that she failed to adequately secure the US border.
- He also went off on other cabinet officials who missed his expectations on stemming the flow of undocumented immigrants in the US.
- Nielsen said in a statement that Trump “is rightly frustrated” on border security issues.
- A Homeland Security spokesperson denied the claims that Nielsen had drafted a resignation letter and was close to resigning.
Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly drafted a resignation letter after President Donald Trump berated her in front of cabinet officials, but stopped short of submitting it, according to a New York Times report published on Thursday.
Trump reportedly railed against Nielsen on Wednesday, saying that she failed to adequately secure the US border, former officials with knowledge of the incident said to The Times.
Following the release of the report, Nielsen said in a statement that Trump “is rightly frustrated” on border security issues.
“I share his frustration,” Nielsen’s statement said. “Border security is the most basic and necessary responsibility of a sovereign nation.”
A Homeland Security spokesperson later denied the claims made in The Times’s report: “The [New York Times] article alleging that the Secretary drafted a resignation letter yesterday and was close to resigning is false,” spokesperson Tyler Houlton said. “The Secretary is hard at work today on the President’s security-focused agenda.”
Trump’s anger was not only directed towards Nielsen, who he believed was the leading authority in stopping illegal immigration, according to The Times. He also went off on other cabinet officials who missed his expectations on stemming the flow of undocumented immigrants in the US, one source who attended the meeting said.
The president was also said to have been triggered after discussing Mexico, which he believed was not sufficiently curbing undocumented immigrants crossing into the border.
A lingering belief that Trump has reportedly held onto was that Nielsen was resisting his idea of separating children from their families when they cross the US-Mexico border illegally. For several weeks, Trump had advocated for the separation policy as a method to discourage border crossings, sources said to The Times.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump fervently pushed for immigration reform by outlining bold plans, including the construction of a massive wall stretching across the US-Mexico border.
“I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively,” Trump said in a campaign rally in 2015. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
But Mexico refused to pay for the wall, and despite Trump’s efforts to limit undocumented immigration, the rate of attempted border crossings may have risen – estimates show that in April, US Border Patrol agents apprehended nearly 40,000 people in March, or a 200% increase from 2017.
Nielsen was nominated as Homeland Security secretary in December, after former secretary John Kelly was selected to become Trump’s chief of staff.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.