President Trump tweeted about his new chief of staff friday afternoon, writing “Reince Preibus is a good guy, John Kelly is a star.”
Four stars actually.
John Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, is a retired four-star Marine general who served with distinction in the military for over four decades.
Maybe most importantly, Kelly was not involved in the 2016 campaign and didn’t support any of the candidates.
His history is very impressive.
In 1970, Kelly enlisted in the Marines, two years later he was discharged and enrolled at the University of Massachusetts. Immediately after graduating Kelly went right back into the military, beginning a life of service. During his time in the Marine corps, Kelly garnered respect from both sides of the political aisle and admiration from military officers.
He led the Southern Command, where he directed U.S. military operations in South and Central America. Kelly also commanded Marines during some of the most intense fighting during the Iraq war.
Kelly has always taken a hard line stance on immigration, and was appointed head of Homeland Security by President Trump on January 20, 2017. At that time the president said of Kelly, “the right person to spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration and securing our borders.”
It was during the last six months that Trump became enamoured with Kelly’s leadership qualities and style of management. Which has been called cool, direct and honest.
Kelly’s life is not without heartache and pain though.
In 2010, one of Kelly’s sons, 29-year-old Marine 1st Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, was killed in combat in Afghanistan after stepping on a land mine, making Kelly the highest-ranking military officer to lose a child during the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.
By hiring Kelly, the president may have created a bit of a media firewall in the oval office. It would seem at first bluch, that members of the press will be less reticent to criticize an administration with a four-star general leading the charge.
Clearly Trump likes surrounding himself with Generals, it will be interesting to watch this new dynamic in the white house.