With only two days to go until the official start of the Trump administration, the Senate has been hard at work holding hearings and votes to confirm his nominees for his Cabinet. The largely partisan question and answer sessions have at times been quite contentious.
Retired Marine General James Mattis was nominated by President-elect Trump to serve as secretary of defense. WMAQ in Chicago reported that last week Congress “approved legislation that grants a one-time exception for Mattis from the law that bars former service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the top Pentagon job.” Now another step has been taken toward Mattis’s full confirmation by the Senate.
Mattis has been approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee leading the way for his nomination to be sent to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. In an overwhelming show of support, 26 out of 27 Senators approved of President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defense.
Unlike other hearings on potential Trump cabinet choices, “Mattis faced no hostile questions during his confirmation hearing. He called Russia the nation’s No. 1 security threat and accused its leader, President Vladimir Putin, of trying to ‘break’ NATO.” Mattis also stressed the destabilizing force of Iran and North Korea as they seek to expand their weapons capabilities.
“We see each day a world awash in change,” Mattis said. “Our country is still at war in Afghanistan and our troops are fighting against ISIS and other terrorist groups in the Middle East and elsewhere. Russia is raising grave concerns on several fronts, and China is shredded dding trust along its periphery.”
Mattis served as commander of US Central Command where he was “in charge of all American forces in the Middle East.”