Trump Makes 2 New Big Picks for His Team

President-elect wants Gen. John Kelly for DHS, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad for China ambassador
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2016 12:19 PM CST
Trump Makes 2 New Big Picks for His Team
In this Nov. 4, 2014, file photo, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, right, and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds watch early election returns in West Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Add two more names to the "Trump administration" list. The president-elect has named his pick for Homeland Security secretary, as well as for the US ambassador to China. For DHS: retired four-star Marine Gen. John Kelly, sources close to the transition team tell the AP. Kelly, who oversaw Gitmo, is the third retired general Donald Trump has tapped so far, the Hill notes; he joins Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for national security adviser. Kelly, 66—whose son lost his life fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2010—stepped down from his post in February and was reportedly chosen because of his "Southwest border expertise," per the Washington Post. His nomination could raise eyebrows about all of the military brass Trump is choosing (retired Army Gen. David Petraeus is also in the running for secretary of state), notes the Post.

Meanwhile, on the ambassador side of the roster is avid Trump supporter and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who will serve as the nation's representative to China, a transition official tells Reuters. Branstad, who three anonymous sources tell Bloomberg has accepted the position, has been friends with Chinese President Xi Jinping since they met in 1985 when Xi visited the US. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman on Wednesday deemed Branstad an "old friend" of his country and added, "We'd welcome him to play a bigger role in advancing China-US relations." Reuters notes that Branstad's appointment would perhaps ease some of the tension between China and Taiwan after the president-elect's call last week with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. (Bob Dole is said to have been the "architect" behind Trump's Taiwan call.)

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