Purges Won’t Help Trump

Let us begin by acknowledging that there are big problems regarding migrants at the U.S.-Mexican border. One might say those problems add up to a crisis, although the real crisis isn’t the one Donald Trump talks about, which is a figment of his imagination.

Make no mistake — there is a border crisis. The US is seeing something genuinely unprecedented: large numbers of children and families, often in large groups, crossing the border without papers to turn themselves in to US authorities. The immigration enforcement system, not particularly well-equipped to handle vulnerable migrants without papers at all, is cracking under the strain. The gap between what’s happening and the government’s ability to deal with it is, by most definitions, a policy crisis.

This crisis is being made worse by Trump’s utter failure to manage it. Instead of dealing with the real crisis, he keeps responding to the imaginary one.

So Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is out, because Trump needed to blame somebody for his own failures.

“Two senior administration officials said that Nielsen had no intention of quitting when she went to the meeting Sunday with the president and that she was forced to step down,” Nick Miroff, Josh Dawsey, Seung Min Kim and Maria Sacchetti report. “Trump told aides last fall that he wanted to fire Nielsen … She appeared to regain her footing after U.S. Border Patrol agents used tear gas to repel a large crowd attempting to break through a border fence — the kind of ‘tough’ action Trump said he wanted … The president grew frustrated with Nielsen again early this year as the number of migrants rose and as she raised legal concerns about some of Trump’s more severe impulses, particularly when his demands clashed with U.S. immigration laws and federal court orders.”

This is a central theme in all the news accounts of why Trump turned on her.

“The president called Ms. Nielsen at home early in the mornings to demand that she take action to stop migrants from entering the country, including doing things that were clearly illegal, such as blocking all migrants from seeking asylum,” the New York Times reports. “She repeatedly noted the limitations imposed on her department by federal laws, court settlements and international obligations. Those responses only infuriated Mr. Trump further.”

I’m no fan of Nielsen, but by all accounts the real power in the White House now belongs to ignorant and malevolent dweeb Steven Miller. Apparently Miller is to Trump what Karl Rove used to be to George Dubya Bush. Be afraid.

Greg Sargent:

Trump fired Nielsen because he wants a “tougher” approach to the migrant crisis than Nielsen has implemented.

Along those lines, Politico reports that Nielsen’s ouster reflects Trump immigration adviser Stephen Miller’s consolidation of power inside the administration. Miller is trying to bring in more immigration “hard-liners,” because he is “frustrated by the lack of headway” that the administration has made on immigration.

That “lack of headway” is that migrants keep coming to the border — the number could reach 1 million this year. Most of them are asylum-seeking families, and Trump is in a rage about them, leading him to lurch erratically from one posture to another.

Trump and his brain, Miller, can’t see any solution that isn’t even more draconian than what has already been tried and failed.

As President Donald Trump roils the capital over illegal immigration, his influential aide Stephen Miller is playing a more aggressive behind-the-scenes role in a wider administration shakeup.

Frustrated by the lack of headway on a signature Trump campaign issue, the senior White House adviser has been arguing for personnel changes to bring in more like-minded hardliners, according to three people familiar with the situation — including the ouster of a key immigration official at the Department of Homeland Security, whose secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, announced Sunday that she is resigning. …

… “There’s definitely a larger shakeup abreast being led by Stephen Miller and the staunch right wing within the administration,” said a person close to Nielsen, who resigned Sunday after months of pressure from a president who felt she was not tough enough on illegal immigration. “They failed with the courts and with Congress and now they’re eating their own.”

Indeed, Matt Shuham at Talking Points Memo reports that a purge has begun.

On the tail of the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the withdrawal of the nomination of would-be ICE director Ronald Vitiello, Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles is leaving his position, as well, CNN first reported Monday. …

…CNN also reported that there could be additional high-level removals at DHS in what one unnamed source described as a “purge.”

Per the report, DHS General Counsel John Mitnick and U.S. Citizienship and Immigration Services Director Francis Cissna “are expected to be gone soon.” CNN added that the White House could remove additional officials at the department as well.

NBC News also reported that there could be additional ousters, but did not confirm which officials could be fired.


The new acting head of DHS, Kevin McAleenan, is said to have proved himself by being willing to do Trump’s dirty work.

McAleenan has carried out some of Trump’s most controversial efforts to halt undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers from crossing the southern border.

The customs officers and Border Patrol agents he commands separated more than 2,800 migrant children from their families during Trump’s now-blocked “zero tolerance” policy.

His officers fired tear gas into a crowd of migrants attempting to approach the San Ysidro Port of Entry in November, leading to questions about the administration’s response to a rush of asylum-seeking migrants. … His overall approach to the southern border has remained consistently in line with Trump’s.

Other news sources are saying that McAleenan is not an ideologue or a fire-breather, so we should stop thinking the worst. Perhaps it can be said that McAleenan is a guy who just follows orders.

Going back to Greg Sargent — this column is worth reading all the way through — it appears that Trump doesn’t just want to stop people without proper papers from entering the country; he wants to end asylum seeking. This is not something he has the power to do, but he’s too stupid to understand that.

12 thoughts on “Purges Won’t Help Trump

  1. Apparently Miller is to Trump what Karl Rove used to be to George Dubya Bush. 

    Or…Miller is to Trump what Heinrich Himmler was to Adolf Hitler.

    "The best political weapon is the weapon of terror." 

      • Yeah, he's a sick dude. I watched him once in an interview with Jake Tapper. In the the middle of their interview Miller's eyes glazed over and he shouted at Tapper saying.." The president will not be questioned! Meaning that whatever Trump decrees is immutable law. It was a frightening sight to behold. It left me with a sense of what I would imagine a camp kommandant speaking to an insolent inmate at a Nazi death camp. It made me realize that Miller doesn't operate in the same dimensions of reality that normal decent people do. He's custom made for Trump and the moral sickness Trump brings to the American scene.

  2. As the great Hannah Arendt might say about Herr Miller:

    'The balding banality of evil.'

  3. So, tRUMP and his malevolent KKKeystone KKKop administration have given the boot to the sociopaths, and rolled out the red carpet for the psychopaths?

    Yeah, that'll help calm the troubled waters on the border!


    Cruelty is this president's* default position.

  4. " This crisis is being made worse by Trump’s utter failure to manage it. Instead of dealing with the real crisis, he keeps responding to the imaginary one "

    That's true but it's actually worse than that. One thing the US could do is try to work with the migrants home countries to help the situation. Trump has done the opposite he has cut aid to the three countries where most of the migrants originate. I'm not convinced this is Trump's usual vendetta mindset, I think he actually wants to make the crisis even worse? This is his one issue, he needs a spectacular crisis, met with a spectacular solution, it's going to get bloody before it's over.

  5. This is individual one's TV show.  Miller is his Eichman. This is all about rule of law  and whether he will be  enabled to igno re the law. Dead serious game.

  6. You know, Miller might try to project an image as some battle hardened ideologue who is impervious to the slings and arrows of political discourse. But anybody who would spray paint hair on their head and go before a national audience kinda exposes a chink in their emotional armor. It screams for acceptance while it highlights a deep insecurity.

    Maybe the sinister little creep could improve upon his self image psychology with a monocle or a schmiss.

  7. The Monroe Doctrine is the excuse this county uses to meddle in any county in this hemisphere.  As it nears it's hundred year birthday, we might spend a little time reflecting what these years of meddling have done for the less fortunate people of this hemisphere.  Hell we won't even take care of Puerto Rico and we own it.  It seems the European powers that own places nearby to Puerto Rico can take care of their possessions much better than we do.  As for colonies, well the doctrine has done it's job for the most part.   They have no mother county to turn to in their times of distress.

    The public international face of this country looks at  stricken families  and sees faces covered with tattoos.  They are dehumanized and written off as unsavory and unwelcome.  He brandishes a No Vacancy sign and ignores the laws and legal processes that exist.  That he would have any moral, ethical, or values problem with this approach is as likely as fish marching on the National Mall in protest.  Of course if these countries had oil or other riches, then the compassion would flow. Hallelujah!, then the moral compass would point out a quite different path.  

  8. Immigration for Trump is all politics.  Its about how to "manage" it for maximum political effect for his sick followers, unable to accept responsibility for their part in their failings or realize who's really responsible keeping 'em down, they've developed a visceral hatred for non-white immigrants from our southern neighbor countries. 

    Trump and Miller have made what really should be a manageable problem that has an obvious solution — more resources, and turned into into a disaster.  To these lunatics its a "crises" because politically they're not getting enough cruelty to turn into red meat for his hate loving base.  These people are sick!


  9. Btw:  Stalin (really) purged his Soviet political and military leaders in the mid-late 30's.

    Just in time for the Germans to march through and almost take over the USSR.

    tRUMP is purging his DHS leadership – an agency I have little love for.  The DHS was formed after 9/11 to protect our glorious Fatherlan…  Motherlan…  homeland from terroristic activity here and abroad.

    If, IF, there is a major terrorist attack in the US – but definitely NOT* from the white lone-wolves, of course, no matter how many of them congregate in one place at one time – will tRUMP be blamed?

    He should be!

    And unlike Stalin, tRUMP can't purge all of his critics!  At least, not yet…

    * Sarcasm, lest anyone suffer from an "irony deficieny."

  10. Maddow speculated yesterday that the purges are increasing in pace. The number of 'acting' bureaucrats is unprecedented. These appointees don't have to be approved by the Senate. Many are low-level hacks who aren't allowed to bring on staff to build a functional management team. Again, speculation but that may be Trump's intent – to have less functional departments headed by employees of Trump, not executives who work for the US.  

    Regarding DHS, the purge may have the intent or replacing people who won't ignore the courts with dimbulbs who will follow Trump's orders, even in defiance of federal judges. The first sign this is true will be gross, deliberate violations of immigration law as it has been clearly defined by the courts. Watch family separations in particular. 

    I don't know what happens when the president ignores the courts and the A/G looks the other way. Barr may believe the president has imperial powers.  If it goes the way it looks like it will, in 2021 we have to hunt down and prosecute the 'employees' Trump appointed for every violation of Federal Court orders if we're going to erase the blurred distinction between what the law says and what you can do. Or the law becomes what you can get away with at the moment under the president in power. 


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