Trump ‘Emotionally and Verbally Abused’ Kirstjen Nielsen, Mocked Her Appearance, Per New Book
A new book reports that President Donald Trump repeatedly blew up at former Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for her lack of progress in enacting his will on immigration policy.
The Guardian obtained an advance copy of A Very Stable Genius, written by Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, and they highlighted multiple instances showing Trump’s volatile relationship with Nielsen. Many of these anecdotes describe how Trump was “verbally and emotionally abusive” as he demanded that she shut down the U.S. border, even though she warned him that would be illegal.
From the book, via The Guardian:
‘Kirstjen, you’re just not tough enough,’ Trump would tell her. Trump complained Nielsen did not “look the part” of homeland security secretary.
“He made fun of her and believed that at about five feet four inches she was not physically intimidating. ‘She’s so short,’ Trump would tell others about Nielsen. She and Kelly would try to make light of it. Kelly would rib her and say, ‘But you’ve got those little fists of fury!’
The book also describes a cabinet meeting from 2018 where Trump got “red faced” as he berated Nielsen in an “explosive, extended tirade” for not closing the border. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was part of this meeting, and when he tried to get back in Trump’s good graces by agreeing with his ideas, the president rounded on Nielsen despite her repeated insistence that Sessions was wrong and closing the border would be illegal.
The president furiously berated Nielsen, the authors go on. “Trump was so worked up that some attendees thought he looked manic. Kelly silently shook his head at Nielsen to signal to her to stop engaging with the president. [Jared] Kushner made eye contact with Nielsen and moved his finger across his neck to signal to her to cut it off.”
No one in the room stuck up for the homeland security secretary. But after the cabinet meeting had finished, Mick Mulvaney, then White House budget director, told the president: “You know, the attorney general was wrong about the law. The attorney general is saying this, but that is not the case.”
The book goes on by saying that before Nielsen eventually left her job, Trump would repeatedly badger her with angry phone calls, sometimes at odd hours into night, and demanded “wildly unrealistic policy prescriptions” after watching Fox Business host Lou Dobbs.
The president would routinely call Nielsen to say a version of ‘Did you see Lou Dobbs? You’re totally fucking embarrassing me. This is my issue!’… Sometimes, Trump would refer to one of Dobbs’s proposals and say, ‘Kirstjen, just do it. Just do it.’ ‘But we can’t do it,’ Nielsen would explain, usually because whatever Dobbs had uttered on TV was against the law.
After one flashpoint, Nielsen called Dobbs and politely offered to help his reporting. Hours later, Trump phoned Nielsen. “Did you call Lou Dobbs?” he asked. She said yes. Trump replied: “That’s great. Lou says you’re very smart!”
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