Tags: Syria | Trump Administration | jim mattis | syria | trump | defense | replacement

Who Can Trump Find to Replace Secretary of Defense Mattis?

james mattis
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Friday, 21 December 2018 08:31 AM Current | Bio | Archive

A few hours after the shocking news that James Mattis had resigned as secretary of defense, the traditional Washington D.C. “name game” began over who would succeed the much-liked retired U.S. Marine Corps general at the Pentagon.

Noting that Mattis resigned over his differences with President Donald Trump’s recent decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, political scientist Henry Olsen of the Center for Ethics and Public Policy predicted to Newsmax that Trump would have difficulty finding a successor because “most people who are qualified for the job share Mattis’ view and not Trump’s.”

Early speculation centered on political figures such as businessman John James, the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Michigan this year, and business leaders such as David McCormick, co-CEO of the Bridgewater Associates investment firm and a past undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.

(Both graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, James and McCormick are veterans of the U.S. Army who have seen action in Iraq.  McCormick served in one of the first units to be deployed in Desert Storm and James served two tours of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom).

Also mentioned as a possible secretary of defense was Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, former U.S. Senator from Indiana and ambassador to Germany.  Coats was strongly considered for the defense portfolio in 2001, but President-elect George W. Bush turned instead to Donald Rumsfeld.

Official Washington was left breathless Thursday night by the news that Mattis—68 and by far the best-liked Member of the Trump Cabinet--was resigning.  

“Gen. Mattis is a tough act to follow, and yet another 'acting' appointment will probably be the order of the day for at least a while,” said historian David Pietrusza, author of the critically-acclaimed new book on Theodore Roosevelt “TR’s Last War.”

“But even with an augmented Senate Republican majority, acrimony over the Syria pullout, as witnessed by comments already from [Republican] Sens. [Lindsey] Graham and [Marco] Rubio, may complicate confirmation of any new permanent defense chief."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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A few hours after the shocking news that James Mattis had resigned as secretary of defense, the traditional Washington D.C. "name game" began.
jim mattis, syria, trump, defense, replacement
Friday, 21 December 2018 08:31 AM
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