John Kelly Trained for a Job Serving Trump While Heading Up U.S. Military in Latin America

John Kelly Trained for a Job Serving Trump While Heading Up U.S. Military in Latin America by Nick Miroff – Washington Post

A few weeks after John F. Kelly was placed in charge of U.S. military affairs in Central and South America in late 2012, he went to Colombia to meet the country’s defense minister, Juan Carlos Pinzón.

Pinzón, a young Princeton-educated economist, brought Kelly to visit soldiers maimed by the land mines of leftist guerrillas. Kelly’s son, Marine 1st Lt. Robert M. Kelly, had been killed after stepping on a mine in Afghanistan two years earlier, and to friends and colleagues, the tall, jaunty Marine general seemed to have turned gaunt, as if withered by grief.

Kelly embraced the legless and disabled Colombian troops one by one. “It was an emotional moment,” Pinzón said. “He immediately identified with my soldiers. And after that we became very close friends.”

From that day until Kelly’s retirement from military service in 2016, he spent more than three years working in Latin America as head of U.S. Southern Command (Southcom). The period was a bridge in Kelly’s late-career transformation from four-star general to field marshal of the Trump White House, where as chief of staff he spends long hours battling the agents of executive disorder…

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