Who IS General John Kelly???


four-starRetired Four-Star General John Kelly is the new White House Chief of Staff, replacing the abruptly fired Reince Priebus.  But who is General Kelly?  Is he a man of integrity?  Is he a fair and honest man?  Let us take a look …


John and his wife Karen have been married for more than 40 years.  Their marriage has survived not only numerous deployments and military separations, but in 2010 their son, Robert, was killed in action in Sangin, Afghanistan. To keep a marriage alive through all that requires dedication, commitment, and a whole lot of love.  It also says much about the character of the two individuals.

Robert-Kelly-grave.jpgJohn and Karen have two other grown children:  John, Jr., is a Marine Corps Major, and Kathleen, who works for the American Red Cross at Walter Reed Hospital.

Military Career

John enlisted in the Marines in 1970, and was discharged from active duty as a sergeant in 1972, after serving in an infantry company with the 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He was commissioned on December 27, 1975, as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps via Officer Candidates School. In 1976, he graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston and, in 1984, he received a Master of Science degree in National Security Studies from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

Kelly served in the Persian Gulf War, during the Operation Desert Storm combat phase in January and February 1991. In 2002, Kelly was promoted to Brigadier General. After the Iraq War began, he was deployed to Iraq. He took command of Task Force Tripoli in April 2003 after the fall of Baghdad. Kelly’s last role in the military before retirement in 2016, was commander of U.S. Southern Command. It is one of the Unified Combatant Commands and is responsible for operations in Central and South America. It is based in Doral, Florida. This was his first and only four-star assignment.

Secretary of Homeland Security

Kelly was confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security by a Senate vote of 88-11 on inauguration day, January 20th. In this position, he has consistently supported the idea of a wall spanning the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that he believed “a border wall is essential” as there were “tremendous threats” such as drugs and individuals coming into the U.S. Kelly said of terrorism, “It’s everywhere. It’s constant. It’s nonstop. The good news for us in America is we have amazing people protecting us every day. But it can happen here almost anytime.” He said that the threat from terrorism was so severe that some people would “never leave the house” if they knew the truth. Both of these views are, in my opinion, exaggerated and play on the fears of citizens.

Political Ideology

  • While he was the commander of the Southern Command, he was critical of Barack Obama’s decisions to open combat jobs to women and closing down Guantanamo. He swatted away criticism of inhumane practices in Guantanamo. He also said that the military would be under pressure to “lower standards” for women in combat duty.
  • He is a strong supporter of Trump’s hardline immigration policy and of the contentious, conflict-riddled travel ban.

My take on General Kelly is that he is a good person … he has raised three children, all of whom entered careers involving service to humanity in one form or another, and I find no scandal surrounding any of them.  He has what, from all reports, is a stable, loving marriage that has survived through many situations that would have torn apart less committed couples.  I have concerns, however, about his radical stance on immigration and border security.  Nonetheless, those stances are not really at issue in his present position as White House Chief of Staff.

The White House, contrary to what Donald Trump says, is obviously in a state of chaos.  There are internal power struggles, so many lies that I have lost count, and the leakers.  It would seem that somebody who walks softly and carries a big stick is needed to bring order out of the chaos.  Kelly has little experience for the position but … he does have experience in managing groups of people, so perhaps he can make some sense of the garbage heap that resides in the White House.

IF … if he is a good man of conscience, I think that he cannot possibly last more than six months.  If he stands by his convictions, his integrity, then it is only a matter of time before he and Trump butt heads and … well … Trump is, for the time being, da boss.  Even if that does not occur, my best guess is that within six months Gen. Kelly will tire of the game-playing, the constant lies, the back-stabbing, and the Trump children always getting their way, even when their actions threaten to bring the whole house of cards tumbling down.  If Kelly turns out to be less than a man of honour, then he should fit right in, but I do not think this is the case.  Though I disagree with his stances on immigration, the terrorist threat, and women in the military, I believe he is a man who tries to follow his conscience and do what he believes is best for the nation.

At the very least, his four decades in progressive leadership roles in the military should stand him in good stead for bringing some order to the White House, although with the current cast of characters, I do not think there will ever be complete cohesion.  One can hope that Kelly’s relative sanity remains intact and will at least partly offset the insanity of his boss. Best of luck to General John Kelly … he will need all the luck he can get!

34 thoughts on “Who IS General John Kelly???

    • I doubt DT is going anywhere before next year at the earliest. The wheels of justice turn verrrrrrry slowly, and it will take time.

      As re: Pence … I don’t like him either, but he at least has a more even temperament and would be, I think, less likely to stir up an international shitstorm. He can speak in whole sentences, which would be a nice thing to hear. However, he is a bigot. Either way, though, if Trump is impeached, dies, or whatever … Pence will have his work cut out for him, repairing the damage that Trump has done and continues to do. I can only begin to imagine …

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The alternative possibility is that if Kelly digs deep and stands his ground the rest will eventually find themselves clinging onto him as they try to thrash their way out of their own ineptitudes.
    Unless they try and pull a ‘Coriolanus’ or a ‘Titus Andronicus’ on him, but I don’t think they are up to that standard of plotting.
    If he does go…well are they going to look all kinds of stupid!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Does it bother you that Trump seems to be staffing up with generals? Is surrounding yourself with military a step toward dictatorship? He’s already shown his disdain for congress and the judicial branch of government. Just an observation.


    • It bothers me a lot, Don. But … the flip side is that McMaster, Mattis and Kelly all have better heads than Trump and it can be hoped that they bring at least a little bit of common sense to what is otherwise a train-wreck administration! But yes, I am concerned about the generals being placed in strategic positions. That said, I also have serious concerns about Tillerson as Secretary of State … the man is horribly un-qualified and that is an extremely sensitive position. There are so many potential hot spots … sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I love the lettuce farm analogy … and so true! I am encouraged to see that at least some of the GOP members of Congress are fed up with him and moving on, despite his rants. That is the best news, for once they let go of his coattails, then we stand a chance of keeping his power limited. But yes, he seems to be determined to start a war. I remember in one of his campaign speeches last year he said, “what’s the point in having nukes if you can’t use them?” Chilling, yes?


  3. Dear Jill,
    I am prone to look at General Kelly in a positive light and to give him the benefit of the doubt, although I disagree with him on some major issues. I do not place him in the same category as a racist, Islamophobic, and anti-LGBT rights like Jeff Sessions.
    But like you,I am thinking that if he is truly a person of integrity, I don’t expect him to last beyond January 2018.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, I don’t see him as a bad man, a bigot like Sessions. I see him as less tolerant that I would like, but I think, from what I have read, that he is a good man. We shall see. Hopefully he at least lasts longer than Scaramucci did 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the bio on Kelly… He is more of an unknown for us Brits.
    I still think he has been brought in to sort out the N. Korea problem (not to mention Russia, Venezuela and a few others). Trumpest is out of his depth on military interventions (and knows it), so he has put Kelly in place to make some progress on these issues. However, I think if Kelly steps outside of those ‘bigger’ problems and into Trumpest’s personal space… He will soon be replaced… How long he will last is anybody’s guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just don’t know anymore … it is a not-so-brave new world, an alternative universe, and the parameters, the rules … have changed. Basically, where Trump is concerned, there are no rules. Time will tell on Kelly’s involvement … probably by the end of the week, we will have some insight … maybe … or maybe not. See??? 🙃

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Who IS General John Kelly??? – The Militant Negro™

    • I gave him six, but yes, if he tries to take away the twitting machine, that will be the deal breaker! It is a three-ring circus, complete with a full set of clowns and freak show attractions. I never did much like the circus, and this one is just … too creepy! Is it Kitten Thursday yet? sigh.


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