Marine Gen. John Kelly has emerged as a candidate for a Cabinet position in Donald Trump's administration because of his hawkish views on the Mexican border, The Washington Times reports.
Kelly, in testimony he gave to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015, warned that the smuggling routes along the border made the U.S. vulnerable to an influx of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.
“In my opinion, the relative ease with which human smugglers moved tens of thousands of people to our nation’s doorstep also serves as another warning sign: These smuggling routes are a potential vulnerability to our homeland,” Kelly said then.
Kelly at the time led the Southern Command, the unit responsible for all U.S. military activities in South and Central America. His comments at the time were frowned upon by President Barack Obama’s aides for depicting the border as a security threat. But it reportedly drew the attention of Trump adviser Steve Bannon and gained Kelly an audience with the president-elect.
Kelly is in the running for two positions according to news reports: secretary of state and head of the Department of Homeland Security. He's been catapulted into the discussion for secretary of state as Trump's team continues to disagree between former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, for the position.
Kelly’s status has also reportedly been boosted by Trump’s apparent preference to place those with combat experience in senior foreign policy roles.
Kelly, a four-star general, has been endorsed by fellow retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who is being considered for defense secretary.
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