Who is Lt. Gen. John Kelly? ‘True star’ engineered culture change at Homeland Security

by WorldTribune Staff, July 30, 2017

President Donald Trump’s new chief of staff is an admittedly “politically incorrect” former Marine Corps general who oversaw one of the great successes of the Trump administration thus far.

Homeland Security Secretary Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly, who will replace Reince Priebus as chief of staff, “is a Great American and a Great Leader,” Trump tweeted.

John Kelly will be sworn is as chief of staff on July 31. / AP

“John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration,” the president said.

Kelly, who will be sworn in on July 31 at the White House in time for a Cabinet meeting, “has helped seal the border and reduced illegal immigration by 70 percent,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“He is respected by everyone, especially the people at the Department of Homeland Security. The entire administration loves him and no one is comparable.”

Sanders said Trump had been talking to Kelly for “a while” about the move.

“The conversations about this started with the president and Reince about two weeks ago,” Sanders said.

Kelly, who often clashed with the Obama administration while heading up Southern Command, engineered huge changes at Homeland Security, particularly immigration services.

“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 after Trump first nominated him for the Homeland Security post last year.

Kelly also battled members of Congress who complained about his approach, telling them to either rewrite the laws or “shut up.”

The former Marine Corps general has also been a consistently outspoken voice for the military at a time when he says the American public is largely unaware of the price it pays.

During a speech in St. Louis in November 2010, Kelly said the U.S. military’s “struggle is your struggle. 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.”

Four days before the speech in St. Louis, Kelly’s son, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly , 29, had stepped on a land mine while leading a platoon of Marines in southern Afghanistan. He was killed instantly.

The Washington Post noted in a report on Kelly’s speech that President Barack Obama had devoted only six sentences to the war in Afghanistan in his State of the Union address in January 2011.

“The 25-second standing ovation that lawmakers lavished on the troops lasted almost as long as the president’s war remarks,” the report noted.

A retired Marine Corps general noted in a condolence letter to Kelly a few days after his son’s death: “Service to and sacrifice for the nation have become a legacy affair for a relatively small number of families.”

Kelly said in an email that “We are only one of 5,500 American families who have suffered the loss of a child in this war. The death of my boy simply cannot be made to seem any more tragic than the others.”

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