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Calls Grow for Fortune Magazine to Rescind Kirstjen Nielsen Invitation to 'Women in Power' Summit

"Fortune should not be giving Nielsen, or others like her, a platform to rehabilitate her appropriately damaged reputation."

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen listens in March 2019 as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the White House.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen listens in March 2019 as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the White House. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Progressives are decrying a decision by Fortune Magazine to feature Kirstjen Nielsen, the former secretary of Homeland Security whose tenure was marked by child separation, child detention, and other harsh anti-immigration measures promoted by President Donald Trump, as a speaker at the company's Most Powerful Women Summit 2019. 

"Kirstjen Nielsen does not deserve to have a platform at Fortune's MPW Summit," said Restore Public Trust's Karl Frisch. "Nielsen helped carry out Trump's horrific family separation policy. On Nielsen’s watch, children taken from their families were abused and sexually assaulted. Some even died. Fortune should not be giving Nielsen, or others like her, a platform to rehabilitate her appropriately damaged reputation."

In September, as Common Dreams reported, Nielsen dropped out of a previously planned appearance at The Atlantic Ideas Conference due to public outcry over The Atlantic Magazine hosting her and "providing a platform to people who worked hand-in-hand with Trump to separate families, lock babies up in cages, and terrorize communities of color." 

On Tuesday, Nielsen rejoined the Trump administration after the president appointed her to his National Infrastructure Advisory Committee. 

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The Fortune summit, which features other politicos such as former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former U.N. ambasssador Susan Rice, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), and others, will be held from October 21 to 23 in Washington, D.C.

According to the summit's website, it "has evolved into the world's most extraordinary leadership community, convening the preeminent women in business—along with select leaders in government, philanthropy, education, and the arts—for wide-ranging conversations that inspire and deliver practical advice."

Frisch, of Restore Public Trust, said that he doubted Nielsen was the right person for the job.

"After helping to put migrant kids in cages during her tenure with the Trump administration," said Frisch, "Nielsen's ability to offer 'practical advice' to attendees at this conference is questionable at best."

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