By tendering her resignation on Sunday, Kirstjen Nielsen ended her high-profile run as Secretary of Homeland Security. Nielsen, who became the public face of White House immigration policy, had long been rumored to leave.
The president moved quickly, tweeting that the new acting homeland secretary will be Kevin McAleenan. According to lawyer and frequent Trump opponent, George Conway, the president does not have the authorization to name Nielsen’s successor.
Conway replied to Trump’s tweet, “Maybe you should take a look at the United States code. because under the rather explicit terms of 6 U.S.C. §113(g), here’s your new Acting Secretary of Homeland Security: Claire M. Grady.”
maybe you should take a look at the United States code https://t.co/nULkSP4Dgj
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) April 7, 2019
Through a series of retweets, Conway showed that there are some acts Trump could use to hand pick a successor. It does not seem, though, that the acts would be applicable in this case. If the president means to make McAleenan the acting secretary, he would have to first fire Grady.
Nielsen and Trump’s relationship had become increasingly strained. According to a report from the New York Times:
“In a cabinet meeting surrounded by her peers, Mr. Trump castigated her repeatedly, leading her to draft a resignation letter and to tell colleagues that there was no reason for her to lead the department any longer.”
Regardless of who becomes the new acting secretary, the president plans on being more aggressive with border policy. Nielsen had frequently stood in the way of his plans. The successor will most likely be much more amenable.