Trump to nominate Mattis as defence secy
US President-elect Donald Trump on Friday announced that he will nominate retired Marine general James Mattis, renowned for his tough talk and battlefield experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, to be his defence secretary.
“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our Secretary of Defence,” Trump told a cheering crowd at Cincinnati in Ohio in his first of the series of ‘Thank You’ victory tour.
“But we are not announcing this till Monday, so don’t tell anybody,” Trump told his supporters in his characteristic way. Trump described 66-year-old Mattis as “one of our great, great generals.”
“He’s our best. They say he’s the closest thing to (World War II-era) general George Patton that we have and it’s about time,” Trump said at the rally.
The retired four-star general, known as ‘Mad Dog’, commanded a Marine battalion during the First Gulf War and a Marine division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2010, he was named to head the US Central Command.
Tough-talking Mattis attracted controversy in 2005 when he said “it’s fun to shoot some people” while addressing service members in San Diego.
If confirmed by the US Senate, Mattis would replace outgoing Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.
The nomination comes after Mattis met Trump in New Jersey last month.
Trump had said that he changed his position on enhanced interrogation after meeting Mattis.