Easy path to confirmation.
General John Kelly, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, had his Senate confirmation hearing, which went off without a hitch. In fact, Kelly received massive praise from both sides of the aisle
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) considers Kelly a “good choice for Secretary of Homeland Security.”
General Kelly is good choice for Secretary of Homeland Security. I believe him when he says he "will speak truth to power." Good answers.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) January 10, 2017
Kelly told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that securing our border with Mexico remains a priority, but it will take more than a wall:
“A physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job,” retired Marine Gen. John Kelly told members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during a confirmation hearing Tuesday. “Certainly it has to be a layered approach.”
But he also mentioned that the war on drugs and illegal border crossings go way below the Mexican border. Instead, “security of the border starts 1,500 miles south of the Rio Grande in the jungles of Latin America.”
Kelly rejected the idea of a Muslim registry or registering anyone based on religion or ethnicity. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said the same thing during his confirmation hearing for attorney general. This means both have nixed an idea Trump paraded on the campaign trail:
And Kelly also agreed that several of Trump’s campaign proposals targeted at Muslims would likely be unconstitutional and said he disagreed with the idea of targeting individuals on the sole basis of their religion.
Under questioning from Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, Kelly agreed conducting surveillance of US mosques and creating a database of Muslims in the US raised constitutional issues.
“I don’t think it’s ever appropriate to focus on something like religion as the only factor (in counterterrorism),” Kelly said. “I don’t agree with registering people based on ethnic or religion.”
Kelly also addressed the issue of data collection several times during the hearing and said he is opposed to the “mass collection of data on people.”
Kelly would oversee the implementation of many of Trump’s controversial proposals should he be confirmed to lead the Department of Homeland Security, and his answers on torture and Muslim-targeted counterterrorism programs appeared to give Democrats confidence that Kelly would be a voice of reason in a Trump administration should be confirmed.
Also, just like Sessions, he said “the law would guide him” on his decision making.
Kelly insisted he would stand up to Trump if he believed the president was wrong. McCaskill said the response was “music to her ears” and said she will hold Kelly accountable on his pledge, but thinks the Senate will easily confirm Kelly:
Following Kelly’s hearing, McCaskill and committee chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin suggested Kelly could be confirmed with ease.
“I’m confident he will be a moderating influence on President-elect Trump and some of his more divisive rhetoric that he displayed during the campaign when it comes to immigration, and a Muslim ban and all the other things that were covered in the hearing today,” McCaskill said.
Kelly already has a relationship with DHS after heading “the military’s Southern Command, based in South Florida.” During that job, he worked with the department “to combat human trafficking and drug smuggling.”