Trump to Nominate Homeland Chief of Staff as New Security Secretary

President Donald Trump is pushing back at'fake news reports that there is a rift between him and chief of staff John Kelly

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen, a top aide to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, to head the Homeland Security Department, an administration official said.

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

Kelly served as secretary of Homeland Security for just over six months prior to the resignation of White House chief of staff Reince Priebus in late July. After Kelly became chief of staff to Trump, Nielsen became his deputy chief of staff and special assistant to the president.

She now serves as Kelly's principal deputy chief of staff and was also his chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security.

Added Frances Townsend, her boss at the White House during the Bush administration: "She is tough as nails, competent and has rightly earned the president's respect".

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One former Homeland Security official, who asked for anonymity so that the person could speak candidly, says the pick is a controversial one, and that people at the department are already speaking about leaving if the nomination moves forward.

If confirmed, Nielsen would bring extensive cybersecurity background to DHS, which would be a boon for DHS's evolving cybersecurity mission. The department also is responsible for US border security.

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 would be the first person to run the department who has actually worked there", one person close to the Trump administration told Politico. She was responsible for carrying out some of Kelly's orders on who gets access to the president.

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