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Report: Trump wants retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to be DHS secretary

Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly speaks during a change of command ceremony at U.S. Southern Command in January 2016. (AP/Wilfredo Lee)

Retired four-star Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly is reportedly President-elect Donald Trump's top choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Kelly led the U.S. Southern Command and led troops in Iraq — and his son was killed in combat in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported.

Trump hasn't offered the job to Kelly yet, according to the Times' sources, but the nomination is expected to be rolled out next week.


In 2010, General Kelly earned a painful distinction when one of his sons, Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, was killed after stepping on a mine while leading a platoon in Afghanistan. General Kelly became the highest-ranking military officer to lose a son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan.

General Kelly has said little about that experience, but it played a role in his selection by Mr. Trump, according to people close to the Trump transition. Mr. Trump, his aides said, wanted people on his national security team who understood personally the hazards of sending Americans into combat.

Choosing a bereaved father could also help heal any rifts from Mr. Trump’s clash in the summer with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Pakistani-American parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War. The Khans appeared on behalf of Hillary Clinton during the Democratic National Convention and later came under sharp criticism by Mr. Trump.

Kelly would be the second Marine general Trump has tapped for national security positions in his administration  he also nominated Gen. James Mattis for defense secretary.

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