Monday Reads: Our New Legacy is Not Being Cruel enough to Children

It’s a sad day in American when a cruel woman implementing a cruel policy gets fired for not being cruel enough by an even crueler President and his resident White Nationalist Advisers that appear to have gone all in for a Pol Pot concept of cruel.

From the New York TImes: Kirstjen Nielsen Resigns as Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary”.

Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, resigned on Sunday after meeting with President Trump, ending a tumultuous tenure in charge of the border security agency that had made her the target of the president’s criticism.

“I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside,” Ms. Nielsen said in a 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.”

Ms. Nielsen had requested the meeting to plan “a way forward” at the border, in part thinking she could have a reasoned conversation with Mr. Trump about the role, according to three people familiar with the meeting. She came prepared with a list of things that needed to change to improve the relationship with the president.

Mr. Trump in recent weeks had asked Ms. Nielsen to close the ports of entry along the border and to stop accepting asylum seekers, which Ms. Nielsen found ineffective and inappropriate. While the 30-minute meeting was cordial, Mr. Trump was determined to ask for her resignation. After the meeting, she submitted it.

It appears–like others before her–that Nielsen may have be “sacked by a tweet” per Axios.

Inside the room: She wasn’t intent on quitting but was prepared to, sources tell us. The meeting went poorly, and Trump didn’t even let her announce her “resignation.” While she was racing to put out the letter (not that different from one she wrote after midterms), Trump tweeted that she “will be leaving her position.”

“She was undercut at every turn,” a source close to DHS said. “She’s done everything she can do. The White House is eating their own.”

Between the lines: Nielsen had been on the outs with some in the West Wing for at least six months, top officials tell us.

  • National security adviser John Bolton has felt the increase in immigration numbers made it clear that her policies weren’t effective, and he thought the president should relieve her of her duties, a senior administration official said.
  • Last fall, Bolton took his advice about Nielsen to Trump, incurring the wrath of then-chief of staff John Kelly, a Nielsen protector.
  • Back in October, accounts surfaced of a shouting match between Bolton and Kelly. It turns out that it was over Bolton’s Nielsen conversation with Trump.

Be smart: Nielsen’s departure empowers White House hardliner Stephen Miller.

  • A Republican Senate aide tells Axios: “Nielsen leaving will make conservatives who were getting fed up with DHS happy.”
  • “Real question will be who’s the [permanent] replacement and does that person have the credentials?”
  • “Whoever replaces will have one hell of a confirmation hearing.”

Go deeperRead the resignation letter

Yes, Trump wanted more separation of children and families.  He wanted more cruelty and babies and kids in cages.  Just as he wants to plow under all the nature reserves and Butterfly sanctuaries along the border, no child will be spared his White Nationalist Agenda.  His is a scorched earth policy when it comes to children already born and the resplendent beauty of nature. No sanctuary in this country.  Only gold piss pots and tyrant curious-toadies allowed. From NBC News: “Trump’s support of renewed child separation policy led to collision with Nielsen. A senior administration official believes Trump is convinced family separation has been the most effective policy at deterring asylum-seekers.”

According to two of the sources, Nielsen told Trump that federal court orders prohibited the Department of Homeland Security from reinstating the policy, and that he would be reversing his own executive order from June that ended family separations.

Three U.S. officials said that Kevin McAleenan, the head of Customs and Border Patrol who is expected to take over as acting DHS secretary, has not ruled out family separation as an option.

The policy McAleenan would consider, according to the officials, is known as “binary choice” and would give migrant parents the option between being separated from their children or bringing their children with them into long term detention.

Trump has been pushing this policy since January, the sources said, when the numbers of undocumented immigrants crossing the border began to rise.

A senior administration official said it seems Trump is convinced that family separation has been the most effective policy at deterring large numbers of asylum-seekers.

Stephan Miller continues to be the demon whispering in the Devil’s ear according to Politico:  “Stephen Miller pressuring Trump officials amid immigration shakeups.  The White House hardliner is driving a more aggressive immigration approach.”

Miller has also recently been telephoning mid-level officials at several federal departments and agencies to angrily demand that they do more to stem the flow of immigrants into the country, according to two people familiar with the calls.

The pressure comes as Trump, who forced a government shutdown over his demand for a Mexican border wall, is again making immigration the central theme of his presidency; last week, Trump backed off his threats to shut down the border entirely.

The officials at the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State, who each handle different parts of the immigration process, were initially surprised that a high-ranking White House official like Miller would call them directly, rather than contact their bosses.

“It’s intimidation,” one of the people who was briefed on the calls told POLITICO. “Anytime you get a call like this from the White House it’s intimidation … Under normal circumstances, if you were a deputy in one of these agencies, it would be very unusual.”

This makes me incredibly sad and ashamed.  I agree with Greg Sargent’s take at WAPO: “Kirstjen Nielsen just revealed how Trump’s pathologies and lawlessness will get worse”.

It’s important to appreciate that this demand of Nielsen flows from what appears to be an actual aspiration on Trump’s part. In recent days, Trump has repeatedly said our country is “full,” which is another way of saying the same thing: If he had his way, we would not take in a single additional asylum seeker.

Indeed, Trump has linked this assertion directly to his threat to close the border, which seems to indicate that, when he threatens to do this, he thinks he’s threatening to end asylum-seeking entirely. This is utter lunacy — because of geographic realities, closing official ports of entry would not prevent people from setting foot on U.S. soil, after which they can exercise their legal right to apply for it.

But Trump actually does appear to want to end this as a right. It’s what he reportedly demanded that Nielsen do, and she refused.

Many other things he and Miller have done are all about progressing toward that goal in some way. In multiple ways, they’ve tried to restrict the ways people can apply or qualify for asylum. They’ve lowered the cap on refugees and used bureaucratic tactics to slash those numbers further.

Now they are pushing for changes to the law that would make it possible to detain asylum-seeking families — including children — for far longer, and to more easily deport Central American migrant children.

These would not address the terrible civil conditions in home countries that are largely causing the migrations in the first place. Trump has ended aid to those countries, while doing everything possible to either slam the door on asylum seekers entirely, or to deter them from fleeing those horrific conditions by threatening unspeakable cruelties here.

Indeed, he even told her to break the law to get it done.

Add to this the fact that Trump repeatedly instructed Nielsen to break the law, and you get an idea of what Trump might be capable of doing. What those things will look like we don’t know, but we may soon find out.

It’s fitting that this is happening right when an old quote from Trump — in which he called some migrants “animals” — is once again being debated. Reporters rushed forth to proclaim that Trump was only talking about MS-13 gang members, which isn’t even clear to begin with, and doesn’t seriously reckon with how determined Trump is to dehumanize asylum seekers, and the rhetorical tricks he employs to do so.

But the circumstances around Nielsen’s ouster should make it impossible for anyone to feign naivete about the depths of Trump’s depravity and inhumanity any longer.

Amanda Marcotte believes that children in cages are Trump’s Re-election Strategy. Does this actually work with people?  What does that say about us?

Whether the timing was coincidental or not, there can be no doubt that Trump believes that highlighting his racism-fueled cruelty towards migrants is the sort of thing that will excite voters and get them out to the polls to support him in 2020.

At a rally in Michigan last week, Trump mocked asylum seekers, claiming they’ve been coached to say they’re afraid for their life, and telling the audience that it’s “a big fat con job.” (This is more obvious projection from a man who has spent his life as a shameless grifter.

“Our detention areas are maxed out & we will take no more illegals. Next step is to close the Border!” Trump tweeted on Saturday, helping McAleenan and Fox News in pushing the idea that the caged families were visual evidence of this supposed “invasion.”

Whether the timing was coincidental or not, there can be no doubt that Trump believes that highlighting his racism-fueled cruelty towards migrants is the sort of thing that will excite voters and get them out to the polls to support him in 2020.

At a rally in Michigan last week, Trump mocked asylum seekers, claiming they’ve been coached to say they’re afraid for their life, and telling the audience that it’s “a big fat con job.” (This is more obvious projection from a man who has spent his life as a shameless grifter.

“Our detention areas are maxed out & we will take no more illegals. Next step is to close the Border!” Trump tweeted on Saturday, helping McAleenan and Fox News in pushing the idea that the caged families were visual evidence of this supposed “invasion.”

Is Trump actually doing this to force larger numbers to leave their country so that we can get another full on caravan of evaders heading our way narrative right before this election too?  And what of the courts?  The House just sued Trump over his “Declaration of Emergency”.  How does this play into all of this?  Clearly, Trump keeps breaking the law and clearly, the Senate Republicans keep trying to stack the courts with unqualified activists for their agenda.

The House of Representatives sued President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday over the president’s national emergency declaration to build a wall on the southern border.

In their complaint, filed in federal district court in Washington, DC, Democrats named Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Acting Secretary of the Department of Defense Patrick Shanahan, and their corresponding departments.

President Donald Trump declared the national emergency in February in an attempt to stitch together money to build the wall. Democrats have long argued this is an unconstitutional expansion of presidential powers, by taking money Congress already dedicated to other programs to build a wall Congress has repeatedly rejected. Both the House and Senate passed a resolution that would reject the national emergency declaration, but were unable to overcome Trump’s veto.

House Democrats had left the door open to legal action if the resolution failed.

“The House will once again defend our Democracy and our Constitution, this time in the courts,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Thursday. “No one is above the law or the Constitution, not even the President.”

Democrats are asking a judge to declare that the transfer of $1 billion in March from defense funds for border wall construction was unconstitutional, and to block any future transfers from the different pools of money Trump intends to tap. They argue the administration’s plans violate the Appropriations Clause and run afoul of Congress’ authority to decide how federal money is spent.

Clearly, we are in all fighting a battle save our Republic as we know it.  But more clearly, we are fighting a battle to save the lives of many living creatures who share this planet with us including children.  It’s hard to know how this will end since I truly believe Trump is capable of anything and that the Republicans seem unwilling and unmotivated to stop him.  In the case of Mitch McConnell and others, there is active support. Now is the time to ensure the 2020 election will be one we can have faith about.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


13 Comments on “Monday Reads: Our New Legacy is Not Being Cruel enough to Children”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Trump is rapidly turning us into Nazi Germany. Unless Democrats start working harder at checking him and young people start protesting in the streets, democracy is done for.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    • quixote says:

      His, the Dump’s, popularity first spiked when he brayed insults at Mexicans. Everybody knows what he’s against and it’s not “asylum.”

      He’s a racist, sexist, lying, thieving bully to the core. And every day he stays in office cements the country on a path where that’s the way to get what you want.

      To my way of thinking, and everybody here, 2020 is too far away.

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. bostonboomer says:

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    This nation is being run by a 33 year old Jewish nazi whose hate cannot be contained. A Jeff Sessions acolyte with close ties to Steve Bannon and approved by Trump as an “advisor”.

    This self hating man who probably could not get a date without paying is leading this country into the abyss of xenophobia we have not seen since Germany in the 1930s.

    And we are paying his salary for these obscenities.

  6. dakinikat says: