The forced resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is not just the usual story of an administration racked by chaos and the short shelf life of almost everyone who works for an imperious and grudge-bearing President.
Nielsen was hardly a moderate out of step with President Donald Trump on his signature issue of immigration. She became the administration’s public face of the zero-tolerance policy that caused widespread outrage after hundreds of migrant children were separated from their parents.
But she is nonetheless paying the price for a crisis exacerbated by the President’s decision-making amid a major surge in migrants crossing the border.
Her departure is a victory for conservative immigration voices, such as White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, who have long had Trump’s ear and are pushing the President to adopt an even more hardline border policy.
It’s a sign of a government stocked with acting secretaries and hampered by thin personnel benches, stretched beyond functionality by Trump’s impulses and the most prodigious staffing burn rate of any modern President.