By Bonnie K. Goodman
Although the official announcement is not coming until Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump leaked whom; he is choosing as his Secretary of Defense. During his thank you tour rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday evening, Dec. 1, Trump indicated that sources were right he intends to make retired Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis for Defense Secretary.
Speaking at his first rally since the election, Trump said, “We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our Secretary of Defense. But we’re not announcing it till Monday so don’t tell anybody. Mad dog. He’s great. He is great.” Mattis will join Trump’s national security team that already includes “retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director.”
Mattis was a frontrunner for the post since Trump met with him on Nov. 20, at his resort in Bedminster, NJ. After their meeting, Trump tweeted, “General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General’s General!”
Mattis was with the Marine Corps for 44-years until he retired until 2013, he led troops in the Persian Gulf War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Besides being a successful military leader Mattis whose nicknames include ‘Mad Dog’ and the ‘Warrior Monk’ is not without controversy. In 2005, Mattis told Marines “it’s fun to shoot some people.” More recently Mattis criticized the Iran nuclear deal and was at o odds with the Obama Administration over preparing for a possible conflict with Iran.
Mattis needs to have a waiver from Congress to be confirmed as Secretary of Defense because he has to be retired seven years for civilian positions. Mattis is already seeing resistance from Senate Democrats including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who is “the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee on personnel.”