The dictatorial impulse behind Trump’s political purge
9 April 2019
The series of firings of top US security officials over the past few days has brought to the surface a profound crisis within the Trump administration and the national-security state as a whole.
On Friday, Trump withdrew the nomination of Ronald Vitiello, acting head of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, to become the permanent director, telling reporters, “We want to go in a tougher direction.” On Sunday, he fired Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, reportedly because she objected to resuming the policy of forcible separation of parents and children for refugees seeking asylum. On Monday, he fired Randolph Alles, the director of the Secret Service, which supplies the president’s personal bodyguard. Like ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Secret Service is a unit of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the second largest US government department, created as an all-encompassing domestic police agency in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Trump’s principal adviser on immigration issues, the fascistic Stephen Miller, was reportedly the driving force in the purge of DHS officials. Miller previously spearheaded the “Muslim ban” against visitors and refugees from mainly Muslim countries and has developed close relations with the most vicious right-wing elements in American political life. The firing of Nielsen came after demands for such action were voiced by the fascist Daily Stormer publication, by Breitbart News, and by leaders of the Border Patrol union.
According to a CNN report, during Trump’s visit to the California-Mexico border area on Friday, he told a group of border agents that he…