Trump has now chosen three generals for top positions.
President-elect Donald Trump has picked retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security, who has become well known for his bluntness. Trump has now picked three generals for positions within his administration:
General Kelly, 66, who led the United States Southern Command, had a 40-year career in the Marine Corps, and led troops in intense combat in western Iraq. In 2003, he became the first Marine colonel since 1951 to be promoted to brigadier general while in active combat.
Mr. Trump, a person briefed on the decision said, has not yet formally offered the job to General Kelly, in part because the general is out of the country this week. The president-elect plans to roll out the appointment next week, along with his remaining national security positions, including secretary of state.
The Washington Post reported that Trump prefers Kelly because of the general’s “Southwest border expertise, people familiar with the transition said. Like the president-elect, Kelly has sounded the alarm about drugs, terrorism and other cross-border threats he sees as emanating from Mexico and Central and South America.”
Trump’s team also stated that Trump chose Kelly because he lost his son in combat, making him “the highest-ranking military officer to lose a son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan.” Trumps wants “people on his national security team who understood personally the hazards of sending Americans into combat.” Lt. Robert Michael Kelly died in Afghanistan after he stepped on a land mine:
Four days later, the general delivered a passionate and at times angry speech about the military’s sacrifices and its troops’ growing sense of isolation from society.
“Their struggle is your struggle,” he told a crowd of former Marines and business people in St. Louis. “If anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service, and not support the cause for which they fight — our country — these people are lying to themselves. . . . More important, they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to this nation.”
He never mentioned his son by name. The speech has been passed around the Internet ever since.
Kelly, like Trump, does not hold back his feelings on situations:
Known inside the Pentagon as a thoughtful man who continued serving his country even after his son was killed in combat, Kelly has talked in stark terms — much like Trump — about the threats America faces in the Middle East and beyond. In speeches, he has expressed frustration with what he calls the “bureaucrats” in Washington, and he described the military’s counterterrorism operations abroad as a war against a “savage” enemy who would gladly launch more deadly attacks.
“Given the opportunity to do another 9/11, our vicious enemy would do it today, tomorrow and everyday thereafter,” Kelly said in a 2013 Memorial Day address in Texas. “I don’t know why they hate us, and I frankly don’t care, but they do hate us and are driven irrationally to our destruction.”
Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta endorsed Trump’s decision:
“He has led our women and men in uniform and understands what it takes to keep our nation safe,” Mr. Panetta said in a statement. “General Kelly and his family know the meaning of sacrifice in ways that merit that respect of a grateful nation.”
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