Deputy to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also worked with him at the department. She would be the first secretary who actually worked at the agency.
President Trump will nominate Kirstjen Nielsen to run the Department of Homeland Security, reports Politico. Nielsen, 45, served as White House chief of staff John Kelly’s top aide during his time as DHS secretary and moved with him to the White House as his principal deputy chief of staff when he was appointed in July. Nielsen, 45, is a cybersecurity expert and an attorney with an extensive background in homeland security, including stints at the Transportation Security Administration and on the White House Homeland Security Council under President George W. Bush.
“She would be the first person to run the department who has actually worked there,” said one source. “She has a deep familiarity.” Nielsen developed a close working relationship with Kelly during the transition, in which she guided him through the Senate confirmation process. Previously a dark horse candidate for the post, she rose to the top of the list at Kelly’s recommendation after other candidates fell through. Other people considered included House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas, who was passed over because Trump aides didn’t think he had the breadth of knowledge or management capability to do the job. Nielsen’s no-nonsense style has rankled some in the White House, who had grown accustomed to a freewheeling West Wing under Kelly’s predecessor, Reince Priebus.