President-elect Donald Trump announced during a speech last night that he has chosen retired General James Mattis as his secretary of defense:
— ABC News (@ABC) December 2, 2016
Citing people familiar with the decision, the Washington Post said the announcement from the president-elect is expected next week.
Mattis, 66, joins a Trump national security team that already includes retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director.
The retired four-star general, known as “Mad Dog,” was lauded for his leadership of Marines in the 2004 Battle of Falluja in Iraq — one of the bloodiest of the war.
But he attracted controversy in 2005 when he said “it’s fun to shoot some people” while addressing service members in San Diego.
Mattis’ selection could put him in position to temper both Flynn and Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an appointee of President Barack Obama — whose generals Trump has said he distrusts.
Mattis has already proven to have the President-elect’s ear. After meeting at Trump’s New Jersey golf club last month, Trump said Mattis gave him a new perspective on waterboarding, a torture tool he has pledged to reinstate.
“General Mattis is a strong, highly dignified man. I met with him at length and I asked him that question. I said, ‘What do you think of waterboarding?'” Trump told The New York Times. “He said — I was surprised — he said, ‘I’ve never found it to be useful.’ He said,
‘I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.'”
“I’m not saying it changed my mind. Look, we have people that are chopping off heads and drowning people in steel cages and we’re not allowed to waterboard,” Trump said. But I’ll tell you what, I was impressed by that answer.”
Read more: CNN