Secretary 'Mad Dog': Gen. James Mattis Confirmed to Defense Post
General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, President Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of defense, was confirmed by the Senate in a nearly unanimous vote.
New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand was the only 'no'-vote in a 98-1 tally that took place while the president was watching his inaugural parade.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also announced his intention to begin debate on Rep. Mike Pompeo’s (R-Kan.) nomination as CIA Director following the Mattis and Gen. John Kelly votes. McConnell said he hoped they would finish the debate “at some point tonight.”
Noting the Senate approved seven of former President Obama’s Cabinet nominees on the first day of his administration in 2009, Sen. John McCain chastised Democrats for refusing to consider confirmation of more of Trump’s nominees. McCain said the only difference between 2009 and 2017 is that now “we’ve got a world on fire,” citing Syrian refugees and Russia’s aggressive actions.
“We need a new Director of the CIA more than ever,” McCain said.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) however, countered that the Senate would not be Trump’s “rubber stamp.”
Trump earlier Friday signed into law a waiver allowing Mattis to serve as Defense Secretary.
The bill passed by Congress last week granted Mattis a one-time exception from federal law barring former U.S. service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the top Pentagon job.
The restriction is meant to preserve civilian control of the military. Mattis, 66, retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after a 41-year career in uniform.
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