Kristjen Nielsen is an American Attorney and the current United States Secretary of Homeland Security (as of July 2018). Nielsen has been a controversial figure in U.S government, especially after she implemented a policy that led to the separation of parents and children crossing the U.S-Mexico border.

The Early life of Kristjen Nielsen

Kristen Michele Nielsen was born to parents James McHenry Nielsen and Phyllis Michele Nielsen on May 14, 1972, in Colorado Springs. Both of her parents were practicing Army physicians at the time of Kristjen’s birth and she was raised with her other two siblings in Clearwater, Florida. Her brother, Fletcher is a musician. Nielsen attended Georgetown School of Foreign Service from where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. Kristjen also studied at Japan’s Nanzan University where she majored in Japanese Studies. Nielsen has earned a Juris Doctor from University of Virginia School of Law.

The Career of Kristjen Nielsen

During the George W. Bush administration, Kristjen Michele Nielsen was appointed as a special assistant to the President of the United States of America. She also held a senior directorial position at the White House Homeland Security Council for the Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (PPR) program. Additionally, Nielsen was a senior member of the Resilience Task Force of the Center for Cyber & Homeland Security Committee at George Washington University and also served on the
Global Risks Report Advisory Board of the World Economic Forum.

Nielsen left the Bush Administration in 2008 to found Sunesis Counseling. The company is a business intelligence provider and even scored a federal contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to “provide policy and legislation, technical writing, and organizational development”. The company, where Nielsen served as the President, was awarded an initial award of $450,000 in 2013.

In 2017, Nielsen joined the Trump Administration. Her affiliation with President Trump has been her most high profile job till date. She started out as the Chief of Staff for John F. Kelly at United States Department of Homeland Security. Nielsen quickly rose to prominence and became the White House’s Chief of Staff in July before moving into the White House in September.

In October 2017, Nielsen was nominated by the President to replace Elaine Duke as United States Secretary of Homeland Security. On December 5, 2017, her nomination was confirmed by the Senate by a 62-37 vote. Nielsen was officially sworn for the post on December 26, 2017.

In 2018, reports started circulating about apparent friction between Donald Trump and Nielsen after the former berated her in a cabinet meeting. There were even rumors that Nielsen might resign following such humiliation. Nielsen denied such rumors in a public statement. On May 15, 2018, Nielsen testified in a congressional hearing about enacting a new policy that would separate children from their parents who were found to have crossed the U.S-Mexico border. Nielsen was heavily criticized by the liberal media for defending this bill. Nielsen was even heckled by protesters while she was having a meal at a Mexican Restaurant.

The personal life and net worth of Kristjen Nielsen

Kristjen’s annual salary and net worth have been kept a secret from the general public but research suggests that like most high power officials of her ran, she must have a net worth more than $1 million dollars. Nielsen has been noted to be extremely secretive about her personal life. The whereabouts of her marital status have been hidden from the general public.

Interesting Facts

  1. Kristjen Nielsen is the first nominee for the United States Secretary of Homeland Security to have previously worked in the same department.
  2. Nielsen serves as the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Risk.
  3. She was the first Deputy Chief of Staff under John F. Kelly.
  4. Nielsen sold her grandparent’s home in Florida for a reported $2 million dollars with her siblings.
  5. Kristjen is Danish on her father’s side and Italian on her mother’s.

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Categories: Biography