Donald Trump formally nominates James Mattis as secretary of defence
Trump said that the Marine known as "Mad Dog" will lead "the rebuilding of our military"
The US President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday formally introduced the retired marine general James Mattis as his pick for defence secretary.
Trump had last week announced James Mattis as his choice to replace Ashton Carter from the post of defence secretary.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
Introducing Mattis at a post-election thank-you rally in North Carolina, Trump said that the Marine known as "Mad Dog" will lead "the rebuilding of our military," media reports said.
“Mad Dog plays no games, right?” Trump asked his supporters.
Reports also said Mattis thanked Trump for giving him "the opportunity to return to our troops."
Mattis retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after serving as the 11th commander of US Central Command, replacing General David Petraeus as the overseer of US operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
The nomination comes after Mattis met with Trump at the businessman’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, last month. The retired general declined to talk to the media at the time, but Trump praised him. “All I can say is he is the real deal. The real deal,” he said.
Making the first announcement earlier, Trump said: “I don’t want to tell you to this, I refuse to tell you, don’t let it outside of this room. I will not tell you that one of our great great generals, don’t let it outside, we are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of defense and we’re not announcing it until Monday so don’t tell it to anybody.”
General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General's General!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2016
Like Trump, Mattis favors a tougher stance against U.S. adversaries abroad, especially Iran.
The general, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in April, said that while security discussions often focus on terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, the Iranian regime is “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.”