Tags: Homeland Security | homelandsecurity | nielsen | ridge | chertoffkelly

Ex-Homeland Security Secs. Called for Reopening Gov't. to Help Present Sec. Nielsen

kirstjen nielsen speaks at a hearing with fbi director christopher wray
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (L), and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray appear before The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill, on October 10, 2018. ( Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Sunday, 27 January 2019 12:05 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The bipartisan call last week to reopen the federal government by the five former secretaries of Homeland Security was done in part to help the present DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

“After conversations I had with her, I felt it was important we speak out and to be really effective, it had to be a collective idea [among the former DHS secretaries],” said Tom Ridge, who became the first head of the Department of Homeland Security following 9-11 in 2001.

He added his view that Nielsen “is doing an outstanding job and people concerned with our security should the best they can” to help the present occupant of the Cabinet position he held nearly twenty years ago.

Ridge, a former Republican U.S. House Member and Governor of Pennsylvania, spoke to Newsmax on Friday morning shortly before President Trump announced that the government would reopen until February 15.

Ridge told us he had been thinking about something that could be done “to be really effective” in ending the shutdown.  Shortly after a conversation he had with Nielsen two weeks ago, he said, he began sounding out the former secretaries:  Michael Chertoff (named by George W. Bush after Ridge resigned), Janet Napolitano (Obama), Jeh Johnson (Obama), and John Kelly (Trump).  To a person, Ridge told us, they agreed on the wording and signed the letter.

Branding the failure to pay DHS employees “unconscionable” (Ridge said he “would have used a stronger word than that”), the former secretaries wrote that Congress does not deny payment for the military and national defense-related employees “because putting national security at risk is an option we simply cannot afford.  DHS should be no different.”

Asked about Kelly and how he felt about the letter, Ridge said that the retired Marine Corps general and former chief of staff to President Trump “could not have been more supportive.  I’ve gotten to know him pretty well and he’s a true American hero.” 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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The bipartisan call last week to reopen the federal government by the five former secretaries of Homeland Security was done in part to help the present DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen."After conversations I had with her, I felt it was important we speak out and to be really...
homelandsecurity, nielsen, ridge, chertoffkelly
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2019-05-27
Sunday, 27 January 2019 12:05 PM
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