Trump is defending his decision to name John Kelly as his new secretary of homeland security.
Trump said Monday that he would name Kelly as Kelly, a Republican and former Navy secretary, and that he’d have to get approval from the Senate before he could make the move.
“I would have had to get my ass up on the Senate floor and get it approved,” Trump said on ABC’s “This Week.”
I’m a smart man.”
The White House has said that Kelly would be given a three-year term and he would serve under a commander in chief.
Kelly, who has been tapped to serve as the secretary of Homeland Security since February, was a military officer and military intelligence officer in Vietnam and was a Marine Corps captain before joining the administration.
In a statement Monday, Trump said he would not be able to get the Senate to pass his nominee “unless he is able to be a very smart man who knows what he is doing and has the courage and the ability to do it without having to make a huge sacrifice.”
Kelly, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, was previously the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence and previously served as chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Kelly, 64, is known for his hardline stances on immigration and border security.
He was a senior adviser to Trump on homeland security and was the director of the National Counterterrorism Center under former President Barack Obama.
“We’re going to be very smart,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
“I think that he knows exactly what he’s doing, but I think he also has a good heart.
I think we’re going be very, very smart.”
Kelly said he was asked during the transition whether he would be interested in serving as the top Homeland Security adviser.
“Absolutely,” Kelly said.
Trump said he has already named two more officials to his transition team.
The White Houses spokesman said the president has spoken to other top national security advisers including retired Gen. Mike Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who was Trump’s national security adviser during the campaign.
Trump has been weighing his choices since February and has been considering several options including retired Lt.
Gen. Michael Flynn, who served as Trump’s first national security advisor and is now a Republican congressman from Michigan.
Flynn’s wife, Hope, resigned after a Washington Post article in March that detailed Flynn’s ties to Russia.