S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham praised Donald Trump’s announcement of retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis as his choice for defense secretary at a “thank you” rally Thursday.
“During his decades of service in the Marines, he was widely respected by the troops under his command and his peers in uniform,” Graham said in a statement. “He has real-world experience combined with a keen intellect. General Mattis will provide great leadership to the Department of Defense and President-elect Trump will find his advice to be invaluable.”
Trump’s announcement of Mattis came as something of a surprise during a campaign-style rally for the president-elect in Cincinnati, Ohio. The president-elect told the crowd – and the audience watching his first major post-election speech on television – that an official announcement on Mattis was coming Monday, so he asked that they “not tell anyone.”
Since Mattis retired from the service less than seven years ago, Congress will have to pass a waiver allowing him to serve in the post, but Graham does not think that will be a problem.
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“I’m confident the waiver allowing him to serve as Secretary of Defense will be approved by Congress,” Graham said. “I look forward to his confirmation.”