The announcement today that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had resigned from his role left a gaping hole in the Trump team. Yet the President was quick to appoint a successor. Retired Marine General John Kelly will be taking over the helm of the Trump staff. Kelly is known for his quiet, no-nonsense approach to leadership.
General Kelly had been serving as Homeland Security Secretary.
According to a NY Times report:
General Kelly was the commander of the United States Southern Command, a job in which he functioned as a commander-ambassador. Responsible for a sprawling area that encompasses 32 countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America, the Southern Command is less focused on combat than other regional military commands. It has a reputation for emphasizing “soft power” over hard military might, and gets deeply involved in issues such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as programs to train local militaries.
Still, General Kelly attracted notice while at the Southern Command for comments about the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which fell in his area of responsibility. He rejected criticism from human rights activists about the treatment of detainees, and said the program to force-feed prisoners undertaking hunger strikes was reasonable and humane. He also dismissed one argument cited by those who advocate closing the military prison at Guantánamo, saying it had not proven to be an inspiration for militants.
Kelly’s military experience, combined with his diplomatic experience and knowledge of Central and South America was the key to his value as Homeland Security Secretary. Southern border security remains high on Trump’s list of goals for his presidency.
Kelly has led troops in intense combat as recently as 2003 during fighting in Iraq. He was the first Marine Corps colonel since the 1950’s to be field promoted to Brigadier General during combat operations.
Kelly is also a Gold Star parent himself, having lost his son who died in combat in Afghanistan.
His latest position as Chief of Staff is being celebrated by those who know Kelly’s leadership style. He is reportedly the most quiet and thoughtful Trump’s cabinet, only speaking when there’s a reason.