Kirstjen Nielsen Says She Left DHS Post Because 'Saying No' Wasn't Enough

President Trump Signs Executive Order Ending Family Separations At Border

President Donald Trump's former Department of Homeland Security secretary told an audience on Tuesday that she left her post at the department after it became clear that "saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough" for people in the administration.

Kirstjen Nielsen, 47, was interviewed as part of her appearance at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington D.C.

"There were a lot of things that, there were those in the administration who thought that we should do, and just as I spoke truth to power from the very beginning, it became clear that saying no, and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough, so it was time for me to offer my resignation," she said at FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit.

Nielsen was also asked about her role in the controversial policy of separation of families at the border, and whether she regretted signing a memo that enforced forced separation of families.

"I don't regret enforcing the law because I took an oath to do that, as did everybody at the Department of Homeland Security,” Nielsen said.


"It clearly wasn't working, so we stopped it during an executive order," she added.

However, despite an executive order signed by Trump in 2018 that was supposed to end the current practice of separating children from their parents after they illegally cross the border, family separations at the border have continued.

Tuesday marked Nielsen's first public interview since she stepped down from her post back in April.

Nielsen's replacement, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, is also stepping down after six months on the job, President Trump announced earlier this month.

Photo: Getty Images


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