Miller and Kushner laughed

Trump is reeeeeeeally mad at Kirsten Nielsen – not of course because she’s too racist and xenophobic but because she’s not racist and xenophobic enough.

As illegal crossings are once more on the rise and Trump hears a cascade of criticism from conservative allies, Nielsen finds herself on the receiving end of the president’s visceral anger about immigration, seeing the issue as the reason he won in 2016 and a key to his politicking ahead of the midterm elections.

The president has chastised her on several occasions this spring, including a much publicized meeting earlier this month when he attacked her in front of the entire Cabinet. He has grown furious because his administration has made little progress building the border wall, and his most ardent supporters have blamed Nielsen for not doing more to halt the caravan of Central American migrants whose advance Trump saw as a personal challenge.

It remains unclear, according to several people familiar with the situation, how much longer the relationship can last, but the strains illustrate the difficulty faced by Trump subordinates who are tasked with delivering policy solutions to match his most soaring promises.

“The president has a very rudimentary understanding of what the border is all about and how you secure it,” said a former DHS staffer who worked closely with Nielsen.

Trump has a very rudimentary understanding of pretty much everything to do with his job (and pretty much everything else as well). He’s a very rudimentary understanding kind of guy.

Nielsen brings a lawyerly, technocratic approach to an issue that animates the president like no other, with a passion dyed into the blood-red MAGA caps of his supporters.

The night before Trump delivered his first speech to Congress in February 2017, he huddled with senior adviser Jared Kushner and Miller in the Oval Office to talk immigration. The president reluctantly agreed with suggestions he strike a gentler tone on immigration in the speech.

Trump reminded them the crowds loved his rhetoric on immigrants along the campaign trail. Acting as if he [were] at a rally, he then read aloud a few made up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, like rape or murder. Then, he said, the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country — as they did when he highlighted crimes by illegal immigrants at his rallies, according to a person present for the exchange and another briefed on it later. Miller and Kushner laughed.

They laughed. The prez puts on a racist comedy skit and his people laugh.

Now, five months into her tenure as homeland security secretary, the measures Nielsen has implemented — separating families, boosting arrests, increasing prosecutions — have made her a villain to many Democrats and immigrant rights’ groups.

But they have not delivered the immediate results the president demands. In April, the number of illegal border crossers arrested by U.S. agents topped 50,000 for the second consecutive month. The increase has stripped the president of one of his proudest accomplishments — the sharp drop in illegal migration in the months immediately following his 2016 win.

If only he were even more racist and loathsome, so that no one would want to come here.

Trump has been in no mood to hear that migration patterns have returned to historic, seasonal norms this spring, a trend occurring in part because the American economy is buzzing and U.S. farms, factories and businesses are desperate for workers.

Instead Trump has fumed at Nielsen, telling her to “close the border” and growing impatient at her explanations of why that’s not possible. He has also blamed her, at times, for not securing enough money to finish the border wall — even though she was not part of the spending deal struck by senior White House aides and that the president signed, current and former administration officials said.

Which just illustrates yet again how hopelessly and destructively stupid he is, getting enraged when people explain realities to him and wanting to just bull through them as if he had supernatural powers.

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