Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | pete king | mattis | Secretary of Defense

Rep. Pete King: Mattis 'First-Rate Choice' for Secretary of Defense

(MSNBC's "Morning Joe")

By    |   Wednesday, 23 Nov 2016 10:27 AM

Retired Gen. James Mattis is a "soldier's soldier" and a "Marine's Marine," and would serve as a "first-rate choice" for Secretary of Defense, even if his stance on waterboarding does differ from President-elect Donald Trump's, Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., said Wednesday.

"First of all, the United States never tortured," the New York congressman, who heads the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."  "Waterboarding was used three times. I don't consider that torture. That's in the past anyway."

King said he has "great regard" for Mattis, and believes if President Barack Obama had listened to him concerning the Iran nuclear deal and other military operations, "we would be in a much better position today."

Mattis will also handle situations on a "case-by-case basis," rather than dealing just by his own doctrines, as he is "practical, but strategic," King said.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Evelyn Farkas, also on Wednesday's program, said she believes Mattis understands the use of force can "be useful to your foreign policy and in order to achieve your objectives."

Mattis has been involved in several operations, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and understands the entire gamut of combat, from hardcore fighting like in the first and second Gulf Wars, and in operations like Afghanistan, which she termed a "hybrid and humanitarian" operation.

Mattis will also realize when force is "absolutely necessary," King said, and "he's not apologetic about it."

Also on the program, King and Farkas discussed a BBC interview with former CIA Director David Petraeus, who said he would be willing to serve in a position in President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

Petraeus pleaded guilty to mishandling classified information after sharing documents with his biographer and then-girlfriend, but King said the former official is an "asset to this country" and is a "great military leader."

Farkas agreed Petraeus is a "solid candidate," but his record on classified information might give Trump pause.

Meanwhile, King's name has been mentioned as Trump's pick to run the Department of Homeland Security, but he said Wednesday he has not been asked or offered anything, so it is "certainly arrogant to say I wouldn't accept anything; it's not anywhere in my horizon."

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Retired Gen. James Mattis is a "soldier's soldier" and a "Marine's Marine," and would serve as a "first-rate choice" for Secretary of Defense, even if his stance on waterboarding does differ from President-elect Donald Trump's, Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., said Wednesday.
pete king, mattis, Secretary of Defense
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2016-27-23
Wednesday, 23 Nov 2016 10:27 AM
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