Trump Formally Nominates General Kelly to Lead Homeland Security

  • Marine is the third U.S. general nominated for top jobs
  • Nominee promises to keep ‘political correctness’ out of job

President-elect Donald Trump has formally nominated retired U.S. Marine Corps General John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security, his transition team announced Monday morning. 

Kelly is the third military general Trump has named or nominated to his Cabinet, after he proposed former Marine General James Mattis as defense secretary and appointed former Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

“General John Kelly’s decades of military service and deep commitment to fighting the threat of terrorism inside our borders makes him the ideal choice to serve as our Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,” Trump said in a statement.

As head of Homeland Security, which was created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Kelly would oversee an array of agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection. If confirmed, Kelly also will be responsible for building the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico that Trump promised voters.

“He is the right person to spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration and securing our borders, streamlining TSA and improving coordination between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” Trump said of Kelly in the statement.

Gold Star Parent

Kelly, 66, formerly served as commander of the U.S. Southern Command, in charge of military operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean. He is also a Gold Star parent -- his son Robert was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

“The American people voted in this election to stop terrorism, take back sovereignty at our borders, and put a stop to political correctness that for too long has dictated our approach to national security,” Kelly said in the statement announcing his nomination. “I will tackle those issues with a seriousness of purpose and a deep respect for our laws and Constitution.”

The selection of Kelly, who also was mentioned as a potential secretary of state, is likely to add to criticism that Trump is relying too heavily on former military leaders rather than civilians as he shapes his Cabinet. After Trump said on Dec. 1 that he’d be nominating Mattis as defense secretary, Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence panel, warned the president-elect against nominating “any further military personnel to high positions of civilian leadership in his administration.”

The nominations of Mattis and Kelly must be approved by the U.S. Senate. Flynn’s appointment does not need Senate confirmation.

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