A side effect of the record rate at which senior officials have been leaving the Trump administration is that numerous figures behind some draconian policy moves have been pushed out into public life. These figures include former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has now been kicked out of an upcoming event put on by The Atlantic, where she’d been set to be publicly interviewed. A whole host of progressive advocacy groups cried foul over the possibility that Nielsen’s behavior could be unduly normalized by hosting her at an event alongside numerous other cultural figures like she’s just another person in the parade and not the person behind moves like separating immigrant families to try and scare further immigrant families from coming to the U.S.
Nielsen had be slated to be publicly interviewed about the Trump administration’s immigration policy. The Atlantic placed the blame for the cancellation on Nielsen’s “team,” who they said “has let us know that she is no longer able to participate in the interview.” CREDO Action insisted:
‘No one from Trump’s administration should get a soft landing to sanitize their actions while supporting and pushing forward a white nationalist, fascist agenda.’
Nielsen wasn’t just a passive observer or along for the ride of the Trump administration’s most draconian immigration policies. She was front and center in scandals like the moment she insisted to Congress that the Trump administration had no policy of family separation — despite the many immigrant families who were separated as she said that and the eventually revealed internal department communications outlining family separations as a strategy. Nielsen’s idea was that the policy was to punish immigrants — which, down in the real world thanks to the actions she and her cronies carried out, entailed separating immigrant families.
Insisting that Nielsen “should have never been invited in the first place,” progressive journalist Gabe Ortiz added:
‘Nielsen’s role in implementing the administration’s inhumane family separation policy will be remembered as one of the darkest times in modern U.S. history.’
The voter advocacy group Voto Latino added:
‘Kirstjen Nielsen, you don’t get to separate families, cause long-lasting trauma to our kids, and think you can walk away scot-free. We will not forget the harm you’ve caused to our community. You don’t get to rehabilitate your image.’
This is not the first time that a situation like this has unfolded. In late 2018, The New Yorker was going to have former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon at a festival similar in style to the one coming up later this month from The Atlantic, but after numerous other slated participants threatened to not show up if Bannon did and outrage poured in from other quarters too, the publication cancelled his slot.
There are other current and former Trump administration officials who are slated for The Atlantic‘s festival, but none who have attracted quite the opposition of Nielsen. Those set to be present include former Defense Secretary and retired General James Mattis and current Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
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