President Donald Trump told advisers he will remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as soon as this week, The Washington Post reports.
Trump canceled a scheduled trip to visit troops at the Southern border that he was supposed to take with Nielsen over the weekend and told advisers “he wants her out as soon as possible,” according to the report.
Officials said Trump is angry at Nielsen for her “lackluster performance on immigration enforcement” and wants to bring in someone that more actively prevent asylum seekers from entering the country.
According to the report, Trump has berated Nielsen at meetings and questioned her loyalty because she tried to explain that laws prevent the government from closing the border with Mexico to asylum seekers entirely.
Trump has not appointed a deputy secretary at DHS, meaning that Claire Grady, the undersecretary for management, would be next in line unless Trump names an acting DHS Secretary.
According to the Post, Nielsen's mentor John Kelly, who has opposed her being fired, may depart the administration in the coming weeks as well.
Possible replacements: Trump must name a Senate-confirmed principal as acting DHS Secretary if he wants to put his own person in the position in an acting capacity. According to the report, two names under consideration are Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of US Customs and Border Enforcement, and David Pekoske, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration who previously served as vice commandant of the Coast Guard.
Possible Kelly replacements: Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers is said to be the frontrunner to replace Kelly when he does depart. CNN adds that budget director Mick Mulvaney and adviser Johnny DeStefano are also under consideration for the position.