Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Cory Rios

Trump to tap Kelly deputy and cybersecurity expert Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary

Trump to tap Kelly deputy and cybersecurity expert Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary

The White House says President Donald Trump will nominate Kirstjen Nielsen to serve as his next secretary of Homeland Security.

Nielsen would succeed now-White House chief of staff John Kelly in the position if confirmed by the Senate.

Before her time in the private sector, she served during the President George W. Bush administration as special assistant to the president and as senior director for prevention, preparedness and response at the White House Homeland Security Council.

Ms. Nielsen would replace John F. Kelly, who left the department in July to serve as the chief of staff in Mr. Trump's chaotic White House.

Mr. Kelly, who has relied on Ms. Nielsen's counsel and expertise since he was preparing for his January confirmation hearing to be Homeland Security secretary, had pushed hard for her selection. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss deliberations before a formal announcement.

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She is now the White House principal deputy chief of staff.

At the White House, however, as Kelly's enforcer, Nielsen quickly emerged as a controversial presence. Her "rigid style" under Trump's chief of staff and her emphasis on professionalism had some White House staffers calling her "Nurse Ratched", Politico reported last month.

The department is a major player in implementing Trump's aggressive stance toward deporting illegal immigrants, as well as vetting the lower number of refugees Trump has made a decision to allow into the United States.

Other contenders for the Cabinet post included Tom Bossert, Trump's homeland security adviser, and Kevin McAleenan, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

She's the first nominee to lead DHS to have previously worked there.

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