Kirstjen Nielsen is also rumored to be leaving as well as Trump’s Chief of Staff. The good news is Nick Ayers might be replacing Kelly. Ayers is a die hard Trump supporter, so this would be very welcome news indeed.
Calling media reports that he is bitter and resentful following the midterm elections nothing more than “disgusting fake news,” Trump next addressed some potential high-level departures from his administration.
On Department of Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump suggested he wants to see an improvement on border security. The first members of a large Central American migrant caravan arrived in the Mexican city of Tijuana last week and were photographed attempting to climb a border fence there.
“Well, I like her a lot. I respect her a lot,” Trump said, referring to Nielsen. “She’s very smart. I want her to get much tougher and we’ll see what happens there. But I want to be extremely tough. … I like her very much, I respect her very much, I’d like her to be much tougher on the border — much tougher, period.”
He added there’s a “chance” that Nielsen, who was accosted in a restaurant this summer by far-left progressive activists as her security detail kept close watch, will continue in her role.
Trump definitively told Wallace that Chief of Staff John Kelly will “move on” at some point, even as he claimed there was still some chance Kelly will stay with the administration through 2020.
“There are certain things I love what he does,” the president said. “And there are certain things that I don’t like that he does — that aren’t his strength. It’s not that he doesn’t do — you know he works so hard. He’s doing an excellent job in many ways. There are a couple of things where it’s just not his strength. It’s not his fault, it’s not his strength. … But John, at some point, is going to want to move on. John will move on.”
Multiple reports have suggested that Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, will replace Kelly.
And on Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel, whom the White House announced would depart her role this week, Trump offered a blunt assessment.
“I met with Mira two days ago, and we’re going to move her around,” Trump said. “She was with me for a long time, although I don’t know her. She’s really somebody I don’t know very well. But we’re going to move her around because she’s got certain talents. But, frankly, she is not — she’ll never be put in the United Nations, let me put it that way. … She’s not too diplomatic, but she’s talented.”
In case anyone forgot, Nick Ayers was recorded threatening elected Republican officials for not supporting Trump enough last year at a donor conference to thunderous applause from the big donors in the crowd.
He stated he hopes that if the Republicans are going to be placed into the minority again, he wanted that minority to be those who are “with us” as opposed to those who “helped us become a minority.”
Ayers, an experienced Republican operative who must have known his comments were going to leak, said to donors attending a private Republican National Committee fundraiser in Washington that the party could sustain heavy losses in 2018 if Congress isn’t more productive. But he said it might be worth it.
“Because look, if we’re going to be in the minority again, we might as well have a minority who are with us as opposed to a minority who helped us become a minority,” Ayers said