President Donald Trump ought to retain Secretary of Defense James Mattis in his Cabinet for as long as possible, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said Tuesday.
"The president does not ask my advice: If he were to ask my advice, I'd say keep Secretary Mattis there as long as you possibly can," Thornberry told reporters, according to The Hill.
"I think he's been – is – a great secretary of Defense, who has tremendous credibility on Capitol Hill, around the world," he continued. "I think he's done a really great job, and I would do everything I could to keep him there as long as possible."
Mattis has dismissed rumors Trump is considering replacing him after the midterm elections in November, saying last week he "wouldn't take" such reports "seriously at all."
The secretary has repeatedly split with Trump during his tenure, including disagreements over the Iran nuclear deal, the decision to suspend military exercises with South Korea, and Trump's ban on transgender troops.
"Of course I don't think about leaving, I love it here," Mattis told reporters, adding as a joke he plans on "getting a little place down on the Potomac" after he retires.
"He made some sort of joke about it," Thornberry said Tuesday. "He was going to retire on the Potomac or something. I bet he doesn't. I think he'll go back to Washington state some day. I hope it's at the end of the administration."
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