Update: Speaking during an Ohio "thank you" rally, Donald Trump just confirmed that James "Mad Dog" Mattis will be America's next Secretary of Defense.
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President-elect Donald Trump has chosen 66-year-old retired Marine General James N. "Mad-Dog" Mattis to be secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post.
An announcement is likely by early next week, according to the people familiar with the decision. Mattis declined to comment. Spokespersons for Trump's transition team did not respond to requests for comment.
Mattis, 66, retired as the chief of U.S. Central Command in spring 2013 after serving more than four decades in the Marine Corps. He is known as one of the most influential military leaders of his generation, serving as a strategic thinker while occasionally drawing rebukes for his aggressive talk. Since retiring, he has served as a consultant and as a visiting fellow with the Hoover Institution, a think tank at Stanford University.
As The Intercept's Mattathias Schwartz notes, Mattis has gotten cheers from veterans and Trump supporters online, in the form of celebratory memes dubbing him the Patron Saint of Chaos (Chaos was Mattis’s call-sign in Iraq and Afghanistan), praising his lethal “double knife hands,” and saying that he “Puts the Laughter in Manslaughter.”
Mattis gets the nod ahead of a notable group who were up for the top role..
- * David Petraeus, former CIA director and retired Army general
- * Tom Cotton, Republican U.S. senator from Arkansas
- * Jon Kyl, former Republican U.S. senator from Arizona
- * Duncan Hunter, Republican U.S. representative from California and early Trump supporter, member of the House Armed Services Committee
- * Jim Talent, former Republican U.S. senator from Missouri who was on the Senate Armed Services Committee
- * Rick Perry, former Republican Texas governor
- * Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser under President George W. Bush
His bio - as one would expect - is impressive...(apart from the Theranos aspect) (via Mattathias Schwartz of The Intercept)
Mattis is exactly what Trump is not, a soldier-scholar who knows something of the wider world.
Now 66 years old, Mattis was born in Walla Walla, Washington. His lifelong bachelordom is the source of one of his many nicknames: “warrior-monk.” He served in every major U.S. Middle Eastern conflict from the first Iraq War on. In 2001, as a one-star general, he led 4,000 Marines in a search for Osama bin Laden near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. In 2004, as a two-star, he led a Marine division into the second battle for Fallujah. He went on to lead combatant commands at the Pentagon and NATO, culminating in two years as the head of Central Command under President Barack Obama, reportedly leaving after disagreeing with Obama’s policy on Iran.
Shortly before his departure, Mattis appears to have weighed in with the Pentagon on behalf of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes’s troubled biotech firm. He later joined the company’s board. Should Trump nominate Mattis, emails between Mattis and Holmesare likely to come up during his Senate confirmation hearing.
Finally, here are 16 quotes (via FreeBeacon) to get a better feel for "mad-dog"...
1. “I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”
2. “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.”
3. “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”
4. “Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.”
5. “Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat.”
6. “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
7. “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”
8. “You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”
9. “There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”
10. “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”
11. “There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.”
12. “You cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it’s going to be bad.”
13. “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”
14. “I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”
15. “Demonstrate to the world there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy’ than a U.S. Marine.”
16. “Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit”