- President Donald Trump was “verbally and emotionally abusive” toward Kirstjen Nielsen when she was the homeland security secretary, according to a new book by the Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig.
- An excerpt of the book first published by The Post said Trump “made fun of her stature and believed that at about five feet four inches she was not physically intimidating.”
- The president reportedly told others that Nielsen was “so short.”
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President Donald Trump was “verbally and emotionally abusive” toward Kirstjen Nielsen when she was the secretary of homeland security, according to a new book by the Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig.
An excerpt of the book first published by The Post said Trump “made fun of her stature and believed that at about five feet four inches she was not physically intimidating.”
The president reportedly told others that Nielsen was “so short.”
Trump would tell Nielsen, “Kirstjen, you’re just not tough enough,” and say she didn’t “look the part” of homeland security secretary, the book reported, according to The Guardian.
Nielsen and the White House chief of staff John Kelly tried to brush off Trump’s comments, and the book said that Kelly joked that Nielsen had “those little fists of fury!”
Nielsen resigned last April after a tumultuous tenure in the role.
“I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside,” Nielsen said in her resignation letter. “I hope that the next secretary will have the support of Congress and the courts in fixing the laws which have impeded our ability to fully secure America’s borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation’s discourse.”
The news broke after Nielsen met with Trump to smooth out their tensions over how to handle border security and illegal immigration.
The New York Times reported that Nielsen wanted to discuss “a way forward” on the issue and believed she could have a reasonable conversation with the president. The report said Nielsen prepared a list of things she thought needed to change to improve their relationship. But Trump was adamant in asking for her resignation, and after the meeting in April, Nielsen submitted the letter to the president, The Times reported.
Rucker and Leonnig’s book also says, according to The Post, that when Nielsen left the Trump administration she didn’t get any continuing security detail despite having faced threats against her life because of the president’s controversial immigration policies.
Security details for former administration officials have to be cleared by both the chief of staff and the president. When Nielsen’s international associates offered to hire personal security for her, Rucker and Leonnig reported, she declined and said, “That would look horrible. Can you imagine the story? Foreign governments provide security because the US won’t?”
Trump has a long history of criticising others’ appearances – particularly women – and he’s made similar comments about others not “looking the part” for a top job.
During the 2016 primary, he suggested his opponent Carly Fiorina didn’t have the right face to be president.
“Look at that face!” he told Rolling Stone of Fiorina. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”
He also argued in 2016 that Hillary Clinton didn’t have “a presidential look.”
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