Trump nominates retired general John Kelly as head of homeland security

Trump nominates retired general John Kelly as head of homeland security
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired general John Kelly as Secretary of Department of Homeland Security.

The pick was confirmed by Trump’s transition team Communications Director Jason Miller.

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Trump's transition team said in a statement that Kelly would "spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration and securing our borders", streamline the Transportation Security Administration and improve ties between US intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

The former US Marine Corps general, who retired earlier this year, had been rumored to be among the favorites for the role in Trump’s administration since the start of December.

Trump said Kelly’s decades of military service and “deep commitment to fighting the threat of terrorism inside our borders” makes him an obvious choice for the top position.

Kelly said he was “humbled” by the nomination and will tackle terrorism by putting “a stop to political correctness that for too long has dictated our approach to national security.”

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Kelly’s military service also included commanding US armed forces during the invasion of Iraq. In January this year he outlined his pride at the US management of Guantanamo Bay.

“My mandate from the president, through the secretary of defense, is to make sure that we're in accordance with all laws and regulations that the detainees, as long as they are down there are treated well, treated humanely, and well taken care of medically and otherwise," he said.

“We do that superbly. I'm very, very, very proud of my soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are at Guantanamo that execute this mission as well as they do,” Kelly told a Pentagon press briefing.

The Boston-born general lost his son in 2010 when he was killed in combat in Afghanistan. Lt. Robert Michael Kelly died when his patrol was targeted by a roadside bomb in Helmand province.

At a memorial for marines in 2013, Kelly described his heartbreak at the loss and told families of fallen soldiers how the sadness never fades, “but neither should the pride”.