Washington, DC – Newly sworn-in US President Donald Trump expressed pleasure as the US Senate on Friday (January 20) confirmed his nominee John Kelly, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, the second cabinet pick to receive Senate approval. Earlier the same day, it voted overwhelmingly to confirm General James “Mad Dog” Mattis to be the nation’s new secretary of Defense.
Trump in his maiden statement from the White House said, “I am pleased by the confirmation votes of Generals Mattis and Kelly. These uniquely qualified leaders will immediately begin the important work of rebuilding our military, defending our nation and securing our borders. I am proud to have these two American heroes join my administration.”
Congratulating Kelly, Republican Senator from Arizona, John McCain said in a statement,”I’m confident that Secretary Kelly’s decades of service and deep understanding of the challenges we face make him uniquely equipped for the position. I look forward to working with him to advance solutions to protect our citizens and keep our communities safe.”
Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who commanded the US military in South America sailed through easily as the Senate voted 88-11.
Even Democrats voted for him and Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp quipped at one point during the hearing, “Perhaps this is a love-fest that we’re having with you today.”
There was some heat generated by newly Indian American Democrat Senator Kamala Harris as he refused to embrace outgoing President Barack Obama’s executive orders granting some of the protections of legal status on children brought to the United States illegally.
“I can’t look these kids in the face and offer them any guarantee that this guy won’t deport them, and without that guarantee I can’t support him,” Harris on Thursday hearing, adding, “For ethical and moral reasons, we have to honor our promise, the promise made by the United States government to these kids.”
On the nod to the confirmation of General James Mattis as the next Secretary of Defense, Republican Congressman from Texas Mac Thornberry said in a statement, “Reforming and rebuilding our military is an enormous task.The American people and the Congress are very fortunate to have an extraordinary leader and partner to help tackle this challenge in our new Secretary of Defense, James Mattis.”
Thornberry who is the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee added, “”I can think of no better choice to serve at the helm of the Pentagon beginning on day one of the new Administration.”
Urging the Senate to accelerate the process of confirmation, Trump said, “I call on members of the Senate to fulfill their constitutional obligation and swiftly confirm the remainder of my highly qualified cabinet nominees, so that we can get to work on behalf of the American people without further delay.”
On the process of nomination confirmation, Republican leaders complained that Democrats were dragging their feet on votes for Trump’s nominees for partisan reasons.