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Former DHS chief of staff claims Trump tried to use “magical authorities” to excuse illegal actions

Former DHS chief of staff claims Trump tried to use “magical authorities” to excuse illegal actions

Miles Taylor spent over two years working for the administration of Donald Trump in one of the most controversial departments in the executive branch, the Department of Homeland Security, the primary mission of which transformed from protecting the nation from foreign and domestic terrorists to separating refugee families and locking babies up in cages.

As a member of the DHS senior management team in the role of Chief of Staff, Taylor was deep in the fray when the details of the department’s actions in enforcing Trump’s extremist immigration policies became public and ignited a firestorm of criticism of the DHS and its subsidiary agencies like the Customs and Border Patrol.

In a bid to escape the cognitive dissonance that working at the DHS required from him, Taylor left the agency last year to work for Google and has now resurfaced with a devastating op-ed in The Washington Post that attempts to warn the nation about what he saw while he was in the inner sanctums of the Trump administration.

Appropriate for an official in the Homeland Security Department, Taylor leads with his most important take-away — one that is a damning indictment of Trump and his record during his presidency to date.

“After serving for more than two years in the Department of Homeland Security’s leadership during the Trump administration, I can attest that the country is less secure as a direct result of the president’s actions.”

“Like many Americans, I had hoped that Donald Trump, once in office, would soberly accept the burdens of the presidency — foremost among them the duty to keep America safe. But he did not rise to the challenge. Instead, the president has governed by whim, political calculation and self-interest.”

“I wasn’t in a position to judge how his personal deficiencies affected other important matters, such as the environment or energy policy, but when it came to national security, I witnessed the damning results firsthand,” Taylor begins his op-ed.

The former DHS Chief of Staff goes on to recount how “the president has tried to turn DHS, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, into a tool used for his political benefit,” citing “obviously partisan requests” that would harm areas that he knew he could never win an election in while sparing heavily Republican states from the same policies.As examples, Tayor points to the closing of the border between Mexico and California in 2019 while allowing it to remain open in Arizona and Texas, as well as the move “to ‘dump’ illegal immigrants in Democratic-leaning sanctuary cities and states to overload their authorities,” something that Taylor claims Trump “insisted’  upon “several times.”Taylor slams the president for a lack of discipline that borders on criminal negligence, relating how while Congressional leaders were awaiting direction from the White House on a deal to avoid a second government shutdown in February of 2019, Trump “demanded a DHS phone briefing to discuss the color of the wall. He was particularly interested in the merits of using spray paint and how the steel structure should be coated.”

The disaffected former DHS employee says that such episodes recurred with alarming regularity.

Taylor’s description of the dysfunctional White House decision-making process would send chills down your spine if you hadn’t already likely figured out for yourself how deeply disturbing that process is.

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“Trump would abruptly endorse policy proposals with little or no consideration, by him or his advisers, of possible knock-on effects,” Taylor writes. “That was the case in 2018 when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced, at the White House’s urging, a “zero tolerance” policy to prosecute anyone who crossed the border illegally. The agencies involved were unprepared to implement the policy, causing a disastrous backlog of detentions that ultimately left migrant parents and their children separated.”

“Incredibly, after this ill-conceived operation was rightfully halted, in the following months the president repeatedly exhorted DHS officials to restart it and to implement a more deliberate policy of pulling migrant families apart en masse, so that adults would be deterred from coming to the border for fear of losing their children. The president was visibly furious on multiple occasions when my boss, then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, refused.”

Even more damning is Taylor’s description of how senior DHS officials were “regularly diverted from dealing with genuine security threats by the chore of responding to these inappropriate and often absurd executive requests, at all hours of the day and night.”

“One morning it might be a demand to shut off congressionally appropriated funds to a foreign ally that had angered him, and that evening it might be a request to sharpen the spikes atop the border wall so they’d be more damaging to human flesh (“How much would that cost us?”). Meanwhile, Trump showed vanishingly little interest in subjects of vital national security interest, including cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and malicious foreign interference in U.S. affairs.”

Any suspicions you had of our president’s inherent sadism are confirmed beyond your wildest nightmares with that one detail about sharpening the spikes on the border wall.

Hopefully, Taylor will be available to testify if Trump is ever prosecuted for human rights abuses in an international court of justice.

Having so thoroughly devastated Trump’s domestic Homeland Security policies and efforts, Taylor says that the president’s record in undermining U.S. security abroad is equally abysmal, referring his readers to former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s recent book as the definitive proof of that argument.

Trump has made America “profoundly less safe” not just through his national security policies, according to Taylor, but by “stoking hatred and division” and with his “bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

After this litany of offenses, Taylor’s concluding lines of his op-ed should come as no surprise.

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“It is more than a little ironic that Trump is campaigning for a second term as a law-and-order president. His first term has been dangerously chaotic. Four more years of this are unthinkable,” he sums up his informed position.

Actually, it would be a terrible shame if every American refuses to think about the consequences of a second Trump term.

Only by imaging that catastrophic outcome can we be horrified enough to persist in our unflagging efforts to remove him from office and save our nation.

After making a splash with his op-ed, Taylor doubled-down on his activism against his former boss by endorsing his Democratic opponent Joe Biden in a Republicans Against Trump ad that quickly went viral with its accusations that Trump believed that he had “magical abilities” as president.

Terrifying, indeed!

Make sure you are registered and vote to ensure that the “unthinkable” doesn’t become a living nightmare.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Miles Taylor at The Washington Post.

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