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Kirstjen Nielsen reveals why she resigned from Trump administration, ‘I spoke truth to power’

Then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen recognizes the 15 year anniversary of the start of DHS mission with a celebration event at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., March 1, 2018. (Department of Homeland Security/Released)
October 23, 2019

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said her decision to resign from her role in the Trump administration was the result of disputes with President Donald Trump over DHS directives.

Neilson offered comments about her Trump administration tenure during a Tuesday interview at Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women” summit. During the Washington D.C. summit, Nielsen hinted at certain Trump administration immigration policies she refused to carry out, according to the Hill.

“What led me to resign is there were a lot of things — that there were those in the administration who thought that we should do,” Nielsen said. “Just as I spoke truth to power in the very beginning, it became clear that saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough.”

When questioned by “PBS NewsHour’s” Amna Nawaz on whether Nielsen regretted signing a memo to enforce Trump administration immigration policies that resulted in family separations at the border, Nielsen said she did not.

“I don’t regret enforcing the law because I took an oath to do that, as did everybody at the Department of Homeland Security,” she said.

Nielsen did not seem to clarify which Trump immigration apologies she did oppose specifically.

“What I do wish had worked a lot better is that the coordination and information flow are simply insufficient for that number of people coming,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking that any family felt at any time that they had to cross the border illegally.

The former Homeland Security Secretary resigned from the Trump administration in April, in a move announced by President Trump himself.

At the time, Nielsen said, “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.”

An Axios report based on unnamed sources did suggest Trump fired Nielsen because she was not “tough enough” on enforcing immigration policy at the border.

Nielsen does still work as an advisor to the Trump administration, despite stepping down, according to the Hill.

Fortune magazine fended off criticism for inviting Nielsen to the conference even as one of their planned guests —  former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton —  decided to cancel her appearance at the conference.

“These conversations can be tough, and arguably should be tough,” said Fortune Editor-in-Chief Clifton Leaf.

Leaf said Nielsen’s appearance at the “Most Powerful Women” allowed a platform to debate her ideas.

Singer Brandi Carlile also canceled her appearance, suggesting the conference gave a platform to “human rights violators” to “reimagine history”