Washington – President-elect Donald Trump picked General John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security, to be the third military general appointed by Trump to a post in his Cabinet.
President-elect previously named Lieutenant Gen Michael Flynn to be his national security advisor, and retired General James Mattis for Defense Secretary.
Sources at Trump’s transitional team said that the president-elect chose Kelly, 66, to be part of the team for his experience and policies on immigration and terrorism. Before his retirement, Gen. Kelly testified that the border between Mexico and the U.S. was too loose.
“The border is, if not wide open, then certainly open enough to get what the demand requires inside of the country,” he said during congressional testimony.
Kelly has four decades of experience in the U.S. Marine Corps and was the commander of U.S. Southern Command, which is responsible for all military activities in Central and South America. He also commanded U.S. forces in Iraq.
His son, Marine Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed when he stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan in 2010.
An announcement of the formal offer hasn’t been done yet since Gen. Kelly is travelling to Europe.
Jason Miller, of Trump’s transitional team, told the press that the president-elect continues his meetings to choose his administration. He pointed out that Former Governor Mitt Romney remains a strong candidate for Secretary of State position.
Meanwhile, President-elect Donald Trump gave few indications on his political military strategies during his “thank you” tour to Fayetteville, North Carolina.
He laid out his plan for the U.S. military saying that instead of “racing to topple” foreign regimes “that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” his government will focus on “defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS.”
“Any nation that shares these goals will be our partner in this mission. We won’t forget it,” Trump went on to say.
“We want to strengthen our friendships and seek out new friendships.” He also pledged to build a stronger military and improve equipment.
“In order to succeed in our defense policy, we must have the right person to lead in our Defense Department,” he said.
Trump officially announced General James Mattis as candidate for the position saying: ” I am proud to formally announce today my intention to nominate Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis as the next secretary of defense for the United States of America.”
Mattis retired from the Marines in 2013, and federal law requires a seven-year waiting period between active duty and serving as defense secretary, and thus will need Congress to pass a waiver to comply with rules regarding leading the Department of Defense.
Trump commented on this issue saying: “He’ll get that waiver, right? Oh, if he didn’t get that waiver there are going to be a lot of angry people.”
Trump also reiterated his intentions to pursue his previous agenda, including repealing the Affordable Care Act, stopping illegal immigration, renegotiating trade deals and bringing jobs back to the country from abroad.