Trump Picks Retired Marine General John Kelly to Lead Department of Homeland Security

Lieutenant General John F. Kelly, USMC to be general and Commander, United States Southern Command testifies at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee  July 19, 2012 in Washington DC. (Thomas Brown/Staff)
Lieutenant General John F. Kelly, USMC to be general and Commander, United States Southern Command testifies at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee July 19, 2012 in Washington DC. (Thomas Brown/Staff)

President-elect Donald Trump early Monday announced his intention to nominate retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

“Gen. 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.

“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. With Gen. Kelly at the helm of DHS, the American people will have a leader committed to our safety as well as one who will work hand-in-hand with America’s rank-and-file TSA, ICE and Border Patrol officers,” Trump added.

Kelly oversaw U.S. military operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean as commander of U.S. Southern Command.

Trump’s transition team pointed to his experience in fighting drug and human trafficking and terrorism as well as his work to promote human rights and safeguarding the southern border.

“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 a statement. “I will tackle those issues with a seriousness of purpose and a deep respect for our laws and Constitution.”

Kelly headed Southern Command until retiring in January after more than 45 years in the Marine Corps. In that role, Kelly oversaw the prison at Guantanamo Bay and publicly butted heads with the Obama administration over its plan to close it.

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SOURCE: The Hill, Kyle Balluck and Rebecca Savransky