General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis is surely President-Elect Donald Trump’s greatest pick yet.
The transition team of Trump and Vice President-Elect Pence thrilled constitutional conservatives by picking the Marine and four star general as Secretary of Defense.
Trump’s choice was his most popular so far in a transitional administration characterized by a majority of effective, talented appointees.
Mattis, like Trump’s CIA choice of Rep. Mike Pompeo, is known to be a man who will have no problem standing up to Russia and Vladimir Putin. He is firmly on the side of Speaker Paul Ryan when it comes to the Russian leader and his aggression in Syria and on the borders of NATO.
The pick of Mattis, a huge supporter of traditional American defense doctrines such as support for NATO, Russian containment and opposition to the Iran nuclear ‘deal’, has reassured many national security minded conservatives anxious about Trump’s perceived closeness to Russia.
Plaudits for the choice flowed in from every corner of the spectrum. Speaker Ryan said:
General Mattis is exactly the right choice to lead the Pentagon after 8 years of fecklessness under President Obama.
Marines who had served with Mattis could not praise him enough, and not merely for his kick-ass quotes. One companion of the general wrote for the Federalist:
To Marines, he is the finest of our tribal elders. The rest of the world, very soon, will know how truly gifted he is. Our friends and allies will be happy he is our new secretary of war; our enemies will soon wish he weren’t.
Others agreed. J. D. Vance said: “It is impossible to overstate how revered Mattis is among my generation of marines.’ NSA expert John Schinder said: “Pershing. Marshall. Ike. Patton. Bradley. Nimitz. Halsey. Ridgeway. Mattis is fit to stand beside them. All you need to know”. War hero and former Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, formerly a harsh critic of President-Elect Trump, was so thrilled with the pick that he personally offered to craft the waiver bill Mattis may need to run Defense.
The Mattis pick was popular with the entire McCain family – showing that Donald Trump is uniting former Never Trumps around his leadership with his savvy choices.
General Mattis!!!!!!! Best choice ever for Secretary of Defense! https://t.co/EHN3BhaRey
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) December 1, 2016
I'm a huge fan of Mad Dog Mattis – exactly the right man for DOD, knows the and is respected by the military. Excellent pick!!
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) December 1, 2016
Some authors suggested that this was smart politics, as McCain’s waiver bill would be needed to appoint Mattis.
McCain boosting of Gen. Mattis may have been key: Congressional waiver would be almost impossible without his buy-in https://t.co/OMvPTKVnMq
— Tim Mak (@timkmak) December 1, 2016
Mak also suggested that lawyers had ‘been working for two weeks’ on a way to get the waiver bill through that Mattis would need. Such background preparation suggests that Trump and Pence very much know their own minds when it comes to Cabinet choices.
Other Trump picks that have both surprised and delighted mainstream conservatives include Charter Schools champion Betsy De Voss at Education, entrepreneur Anthony Scaramucci on the transition team, Gov Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations, and Reince Priebus of the RNC as Chief of Staff.