Trump Formally Announces Mattis’ Nomination To Lead Defense Dept.

President-elect Donald Trump introduces retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as his appointed Secretary of Defense while speaking to supporters during a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Donald Trump on Tuesday night formally announced that he will nominate retired Gen. James Mattis to serve as secretary of defense.

“He is one of the most effective generals and extraordinary leaders of our time, who has committed his life to his love for our country. General Mattis is the living embodiment of the Marine Corps motto, ‘Semper Fidelis,’ always faithful, and the American people are fortunate that a man of his character and integrity will now be the civilian leader atop the Department of Defense,” Trump said in a statement. “Under his leadership, we will rebuild our military and alliances, destroy terrorists and face our enemies head on, and make America safe again.”

Trump also introduced Mattis to the crowd in Fayetteville, North Carolina, during a rally for his victory tour. The President-elect said that his Defense Department will not be “racing to topple” foreign governments and instead work on “defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS,” according to CNN.

Mattis briefly thanked Trump for the nomination on stage, mentioning that Congress will need to pass a special waiver to let him serve as secretary of defense.

“Thank you President-elect for the confidence that you’ve shown in me,” Mattis said. “I look forward to being the civilian leader so long as the Congress gives me the waiver and the Senate votes to content.”

Republicans have included a measure in the short-term funding bill that would limit debate on the waiver needed to allow Mattis to lead the Defense Department even though he has not been out of the military for seven years, as the law requires.

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