In a major letdown for the #NeverTrump crowd pining for retired general James Mattis to launch a third-party presidential effort to derail Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, Mattis ruled out entering the race on Friday.
Two Mattis allies emailed close associates about the retired Marine Corps general’s decision, the New York Times reported.
“The thoughtfulness and patriotism—and for that matter, the modesty—Jim showed as he reflected on this decision make me more convinced than ever that he would have made a truly admirable president, and also a good candidate,” Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol wrote. “But it’s not to be. So we won’t have a President Mattis.”
While Mattis never publicly voiced any intention of entering the 2016 race, anti-Trump conservatives latched onto the well-regarded general as a possible candidate to mount an independent challenge to Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee.
Kristol has been one of Mattis’ biggest hype men, tweeting his support for a potential independent run:
Just spitballing here. Lots of varieties of indie tickets: Centrist: Mattis-Rhee. Young: Sasse-Kinzinger. Conservative: Gen. Kelly-Cotton.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) April 23, 2016
Clever piece in NYP, w/ strikingly weak arguments vs Mattis run, thus keeping Rupert happy while signaling opposite. https://t.co/n9PjbUgqlG
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) April 26, 2016
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) April 25, 2016