Trump Disgruntlement Syndrome: John Derbyshire Votes NO!! On Inexplicable DHS Pick Kirstjen Nielsen
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Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively on

You have of course heard of Trump Derangement Syndrome. That manifests when, in conversation with someone, you say something approving of our President, and the party of the second part turns purple and starts shouting while lurching from side to side, with steam coming out of his ears.

I don't of course have Trump Derangement Syndrome. One year on from Trump's election victory, I'm still offering up libations in thanks to the gods that we got him and not the other one.

I am, though, afflicted with a distantly related condition. A character in one of P.G. Wodehouse's stories observes of another character that "I could see that, if not disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled." Well, Trumpwise I am that character.

I'm not quite ready to declare myself disgruntled with President Trump, but I'm far from being gruntled.

To put it slightly differently, I am teetering on the edge of Trump Disgruntlement Syndrome.

That is of course much milder than Trump Derangement Syndrome. In the ten months Trump has held office, many good things have happened. The stock market's up, we got a conservative Supreme Court justice, and people who know about federal regulations tell me the administration is working wonders in that zone. We have Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department … although, if persistent rumors I'm hearing are well-founded, perhaps not for much longer.

Along with these good things that have happened, there is a corresponding number of bad things that haven't happened. Plus, we haven't got into any new wars.

I happily acknowledge all that. I acknowledge, too, that—to adapt a remark of Dr Johnson's—when a man is working the campaign trail, he is not upon oath.

Still there is a dismaying gap between Trump's words, that so cheered and encouraged us last year, and his actions, which in some cases directly contradict those words.

Case in point: The President's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security.

Just to refresh your memory: General John Kelly was DHS Secretary until President Trump tapped him to be White House Chief of Staff following Reince Priebus's resignation at the end of July. That left the DHS post vacant. A civil service lifer—I beg her pardon: a Washington veteran—has been keeping the seat warm this past three months. [Meet the woman set to lead Homeland Security, By Melanie Zanona, The Hill, July 29, 2017]  

General Kelly recommended his own DHS Chief of Staff to be the new DHS Secretary, and President Trump followed the recommendation. The appointment as DHS Secretary needs confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Last Wednesday this week the nominee appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the appearance was painful to watch.

The nominee is 45-year-old Kirstjen Nielsen. Under questioning by committee members, she said that Trump was just kidding about building a wall along our southern border: "There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea … There's a lot that we can do with technology to secure our borders."

How about the so-called DREAMers: illegal aliens given two-year working visas and relief from deportation by Obama via executive order? Trump promised to rescind that order. What does the nominee think?

Quote from her, in a pre-hearing written document:

Congress has a clear constitutional policymaking authority to change immigration law in order to develop a permanent solution for those individuals that were [DACA] recipients. If confirmed, I will stand ready to work with Congress to provide any technical assistance needed towards a permanent, legal solution.

Donald Trump’s DHS Nominee: Americans ‘Owe’ Amnesty to DACA Illegals, By John Binder,, November 8, 2017

Executive summary: She favors Amnesty.

At the hearing itself Ms. Nielsen said, when asked about the DREAMers, "We owe it to them to find a permanent solution.” [Donald Trump’s DHS Nominee Ignores His Immigration Principles, MAGA Agenda, By John Binder,, November 9, 2017]

We owe it to them! It's our fault they're in such a pickle, so we owe it to them to set it right!

If indeed we owed the DREAMers anything, surely we've paid off the debt with the untold billions we've spent on them by way of education, health care, law enforcement, welfare, and other public provisions funded by U.S. citizens through taxes. Our own Ed Rubinstein has estimated the tab could rise to 750 billion dollars—three-quarters of a trillion. Why do we still owe them?

In fact, we never owed them anything in the first place. They're in a pickle because they broke our laws. Yet President Trump's nominee thinks we owe them.

To the contrary: they owe us. They owe us an apology for breaking our laws, and they owe us restitution of the money we've spent on their public provisions while illegally present in our country.

I can't improve on Ann Coulter's observation, tweet: "Other than being very pretty, Trump's DHS nominee Kirstjen Nielsen is Chuck Schumer.

I can't improve on the second part of that, anyway. The first is open to dispute. "Pretty" is not a synonym for "blonde," though a surprising number of people of both sexes seem to think it is.

What on earth was the President thinking when he agreed to this nomination? Ms. Nielsen's views are totally contrary to the clear positions on border security and Amnesty that—does he not know? —got him elected.

You have to think that the President just doesn't really give a fig about the National Question. If he does give a fig, this nomination is a very peculiar way to show it. Was Janet Napolitano not available?

The Senate committee is set to vote on Ms. Nielsen's appointment Tuesday. But some Democrats want more hearings, on the grounds that the “Washington veteran” I mentioned above, Elaine Duke, has apparently leaked to the press her threat to resign if the White House insisted that she treat the expiring “Temporary Protected Status” of Hondurans here since 1998 (!) as, well, temporary—and require them to leave. The Democrats claim this shows the White House is interfering in policy.

Wait—what? Interfering in policy? Isn’t that why we have elections?

Then the entire Senate gets to vote, reportedly before Thanksgiving.[ Democrats want DHS nominee to return to Senate panel for more questioning, by Nick Miroff, Washington Post, November 10, 2017]

Well, I vote NO!!!! on Kirstjen Nielsen.

If you care about the National Question, call your Senator and urge him to vote No on Kirstjen Nielsen too.


John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com:FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge.His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire's writings at can do so here.

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