Donald Trump has announced that John Kelly will replace Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff – the latest shakeup to an administration in which frequent resignations and firings appear to be turning into the new normal.
Who is John Kelly?
A retired four-star Marine general, Mr Kelly served in the military for nearly five decades. He ran the military’s operations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean and has worked as a senior assistant to the Secretary of Defence. He also served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Kelly will be the first current or former general to serve as White House Chief of Staff since Alexander Haig in the final stage of Richard Nixon’s administration in the 1970s.
Mr Kelly had been retired from the military for less than a year when Mr Trump asked him to run his Department of Homeland Security. In an 88-11 vote, the Senate confirmed Mr Kelly as Homeland Security Secretary in January, putting him in charge of the administration’s policies on issues including immigration, cyber-security, countering domestic terrorism and aviation security.
Where is he from?
Mr Kelly was born and raised in Boston and graduated from the University of Massachusetts. His son, Robert Michael Kelly, was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2010.
What does Congress think of him?
Mr Kelly cruised through his Senate confirmation hearing in January, receiving praise from both Democrats and Republicans. During the proceeding, he also voiced opinions that appeared to differ from those expressed by Mr Trump, and demonstrated a notable degree of empathy for those who seek refuge in the US.
“They, for the most part, don’t want to come up and leave their homes, their families,” Mr Kelly said. “But there isn’t an awful lot of economic opportunity for them there.”
He has since taken a hard line against illegal immigration and vigorously backed the President on the need for a travel ban on refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim countries. The ban, which was allowed to go into limited effect by the Supreme Court in June, was later reduced to six countries.
What do other people think of him?
Several of Mr Trump’s advisers reportedly opposed the President’s choice for his new chief of staff, suggesting Mr Kelly does not have the political savvy and background needed for the job.
Before becoming Homeland Secretary, Mr Kelly got some insight into how the government works when he served as a liaison to former Defence Secretary Leon Panetta. He also worked as a legislative assistant for the marine corps commandant in the mid 2000s.
Mr Kelly told CNN in June that “what I never saw on the military side was the level of the toxic kind of politics that are associated with what I do now,” repeating what he frequently tells members of Congress who criticise his actions: if you don’t like the laws, try to change them.
“John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, calling Mr Kelly a “great American” and saying he had been a “true star of my Administration”.
However, Mr Kelly has not always appeared to be on the same page as Mr Trump, publicly questioning the need for a full border wall with Mexico and calling Russia a threat to the US as the President has tried to develop friendlier relations with Moscow.