“He is the great reputation killer,” Toobin, the network’s legal analyst and a New Yorker staff writer, said Monday of the president.
“Here’s this woman who, you know, was a reasonably admired bureaucrat, and for the rest of her life, people will look at her and think, ‘Oh, that’s the woman who put children in cages, that’s the woman who broke up families across the border.’ And you know what? They’ll be right. Because she implemented that policy. ... She’s going to get what she deserves.”
Trump announced Nielsen’s ouster on Sunday and said she’d be replaced by Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. She had repeatedly clashed with Trump privately over his anti-immigration demands, but publicly defended the administration’s zero-tolerance policy of separating children from their parents at the border.
Nielsen infamously claimed in testimony before Congress that the policy was “not a policy.” She also quibbled over the definition of a cage, arguing during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing last month that the chain-link pens in which minors were being held were simply “detention space[s].”
It’s unclear whether McAleenan’s career is doomed to end similarly now that he is on the front line of Trump’s signature issue as the president sharpens his anti-immigration rhetoric for his 2020 re-election campaign.
Last year, McAleenan defended the use of tear gas on migrants, including children, who attempting to approach southern border. He also has expressed support for U.S. aid to El Salvador, one of the Central American countries from which the president has vowed to cut funding out of frustration over immigration.