Donald Trump picks retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense
President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday chose retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis to be secretary of defense, a move that could signal the incoming administration’s tougher positioning with nations such as Iran.
Trump made the announcement at an Ohio rally on the first day for his “thank you tour”. “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
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.
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.”