President Trump has selected Kirstjen Nielsen, a top White House aide and a former homeland security official in the George W. Bush administration, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, according to two senior administration officials and another person familiar with the decision.
She moved to the West Wing with Kelly who was appointed in July after former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was pushed out. The Washington Post and Associated Press later published similar reports, as did other outlets.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with Kirstjen Nielsen, then chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, on August 22.
Before her time in the private sector, she served during the President George W. Bush administration as special assistant to the president and as senior director for prevention, preparedness and response at the White House Homeland Security Council.
NBC News noted that Nielsen was a "key player" in Trump's travel ban and restrictions on immigration.
Nielsen would succeed now-White House chief of staff John Kelly in the position if confirmed by the Senate.
Elaine Duke has been filling in as acting secretary of the department. Before she worked in the Trump administration, Nielsen founded a risk and security management consulting firm. But she raised eyebrows when she described the aftermath of Hurricane Maria as a "good news story".
"Like [national security adviser H.R.] McMaster and Kelly, she is a neocon who likely did not vote for Donald Trump and certainly does not support his noninterventionist worldview", Trump confidant and fashion blogger Roger Stone told the site. "Most importantly, in this hyper-political environment, Kirstjen is not a self-promoter. I think her no-nonsense, business-like manner is what earned the confidence, first of General Kelly, and now the President".