Democratic senator calls for DHS secretary resignation amid family separations at the border
Posted June 19, 2018 2:39 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono on Tuesday called for the resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, accusing her of lying for President Donald Trump over US immigration policies.
Hirono's comments come as the administration has been put under increased pressure to answer for the policy that has led to separating undocumented children from their parents at the border.
Nielsen spoke to reporters at the White House press briefing Monday, where she made the case there was little the President could do to end the practice, which she attributed to previously existing law.
"These are not normal times, because we have a president who lies every single day and he expects the people around him -- he thrusts them forward as he did with Kirstjen Nielsen yesterday to lie for him," Hirono told reporters. "So, I have said that everything around him who have basically sold their souls to keep their jobs and lie for the President, I would welcome their resignations. She lied yesterday for the President."
Later Tuesday, Hirono addressed Trump directly, and called on him to take out his "God damn pen" and change the policy.
"Mr. President, have a heart for a change. Take that God damn pen of yours and do away with this horrendous, inhumane policy of yours that rips children from the arms of their parents," Hirono said.
Hirono is not the first to call for Nielsen's departure.
On Monday, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, also called for Nielsen's resignation.
Tyler Houlton, press secretary for DHS, tweeted about the criticism of Monday's event, writing: "Instead of criticizing a government official who is actually doing the job she was nominated, confirmed & sworn to do and enforcing the laws passed by Congress, the obstructionists in Congress should get to work to secure our borders, end legal loopholes & protect American lives."
".@SecNielsen is committed to standing up for the law enforcement community, protecting the homeland and negotiating in good faith with serious members of Congress who want to fix our broken immigration system," a second tweet continued.
Hirono on Tuesday also applauded her Republican counterparts who have spoken out against the policy, including Sens. Orrin Hatch, Ben Sasse and John McCain.
"I'm so glad that people like Orrin Hatch, Ben Sasse, of course John McCain have forward to say that the President can end this policy of tearing families apart at our borders right now," she said.