President Donald Trump will nominate his deputy White House chief of staff, Kirstjen Nielsen, as his next secretary of Homeland Security. If all moves according to plan, she will be taking up the position eventually replacing John F. Kelly who has been serving as the White House chief of staff.
Trump added: "That sets her apart".
If confirmed by the Senate, Nielsen would fill the post once held by John Kelly. When Kelly served as Homeland Security secretary until recently, Nielsen was his top aide.
"I share the President's commitment to the security of the county and the safety of the American people", she said.
In introducing Nielsen, Trump praised her "sterling reputation" as a longtime public servant dedicated to security, "not politics or ideology". While she has otherwise earned high marks for her performance, Duke does not have a background in counterterrorism or law enforcement, usual prerequisites for leading the sprawling agency with a $40 billion budget and 240,000 employees.
Trump said in October 12 remarks at the White House that Nielson was "right by [Kelly's] side" during his tenure as homeland security secretary.
If confirmed by the Senate, she will become the sixth secretary of a department that was created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Thompson said, however, he is "very concerned" about Nielsen's work in the Bush administration "during its botched response to Hurricane Katrina and am fearful that DHS - as well as this president - has not learned all the lessons from that tragedy given what we are seeing unravel in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands".