Branstad accepts China ambassador job, Kelly reportedly in for Homeland Security

Pool Report—Reuters
FILE PHOTO - China Vice President Xi Jinping (L) is welcomed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in the governor's office before the state dinner at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines

NEW YORK – The Trump transition team announced on Wednesday that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has accepted the offer to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. Branstad is a longstanding friend of Beijing. Diplomats and trade experts say the pick may help to ease trade tensions between the two countries, the world’s two biggest agricultural producers. In addition, CBS News is reporting that Trump plans to nominate retired Marine General John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Kelly, the former head of the U.S. Southern Command, has accepted the offer, CBS said, citing unidentified sources. Reuters has not independently confirmed the choice. Kelly, 66, would be the third general Trump has tapped for a high-level position in his administration. The Republican president-elect planned to nominate retired General James Mattis to lead the Department of Defense and picked retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn to be his national security adviser. Kelly differed with Democratic President Barack Obama on key issues and has warned of vulnerabilities along the United States’ southern border with Mexico. As head of the U.S. Southern Command, his final leadership post in a 45-year military career, Kelly was responsible for U.S. military activities and relationships in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Department of Homeland Security has 229,000 employees and oversees everything from airport security to protecting against cyber threats and responding to domestic crises.