Who is Gen John F Kelly, the new White House chief of staff?

Kelly spent 40 years as a Marine, and six months as Homeland Security secretary where he cracked down on illegal immigrants

John F Kelly replaces Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Donald Trump is said to have been recently taken with the desire to have a “general” as his chief of staff to sort out a White House beset by internal warfare, not to mention its external problems.

While some advisers have questioned the wisdom of the move, the president has got himself a bona fide retired four-star US Marine Corps general in the shape of John F Kelly.

Kelly’s appointment, announced in a late afternoon Friday tweet by the president, as his new White House chief of staff, sees him move from his role as the secretary of homeland security, where the president says he has done a “spectacular job” and is a “true star” of his administration.

Kelly, aged 67 and a native of Boston, stepped down in 2016 from US southern command, where he was responsible for US military activities and relationships in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the controversial detention facility at Guantánamo Bay.

While at homeland security, Kelly has presided over a crackdown on illegal migrants and a more aggressive posture for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Kelly has won Trump’s praise for a fall in the numbers of recorded crossing along the southern border, even though there has still been no construction of the president’s promised border wall with Mexico.

Kelly had told lawmakers during his confirmation hearings in January that he supported Trump about the need for a wall, though he also spoke about the need for extra border agents and better technology. A hiring spree of agents is under way, despite concerns over vetting of candidates.

Kelly, who had enlisted in the Marines in 1970, served as commander of US southern command under Obama from 2012.

While in that role, he differed with Barack Obama on key…

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