President-elect Donald Trump formally announced his intention to nominate retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis for secretary of defense during his “Thank You” tour event in Fayetteville, North Carolina on Tuesday night.
“Mad Dog plays no games, right?” the President-elect said, adding that Mattis is one of the most effective generals that the country has had in many decades. “General Mattis is the living embodiment of the Marine Corps motto…always faithful.”
Mattis joined Trump on stage at the event.
“Thank you President-elect for the confidence that you have shown in me,” Mattis stated. “I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
“What a great guy! He’s going to be incredible,” Trump responded. “If he didn’t get that waiver, there would be a lot of angry people.” Congress would have to provide Mattis a waiver to assume the post through separate legislation.Politico explains:
Mattis is technically ineligible to be Defense secretary because the law requires retired military officers to be out of uniform for seven years before they can become the military’s civilian leader. That’s in an effort to ensure that civilian control of the armed forces, a bedrock of the American democratic tradition, remains inviolate. Unless Congress votes and the president signs an exception, “a person may not be appointed as secretary of defense within seven years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular component of an armed force,” the law says.
Mattis had a 44-year career as a Marine and retired in 2013.
Trump thanked the people of North Carolina for delivering him a win on election day and gave a special thank you to military families and veterans in North Carolina.
“Your state’s legacy of service is an inspiration to us all,” Trump said, standing just miles from Fort Bragg. “Not far from here sits 45 percent of the entire United States Marine Corps at Camp Legeune.”
Trump said he will rebuild the military and make sure that all men and women in uniform will have the supplies, support, equipment, and training needed to get the job done. He also said he supports the right for veterans to see a private doctor.
Trump declared his intent to destroy the Islamic State (ISIS) and said he plans to ask Congress to eliminate the defense sequester in order to rebuild the military.