NY's Kirstan Gillibrand has already announced that she'll vote against him, CT.'s Chris Murphy says he's "fearful" and Dick Blumenthal is wavering (and, amusingly, in the same press conference called for all cabinet members to release their tax returns. This from the 7th-richest member of Congress, who's $100 million fortune is derived from his father-in-law's business and who, like almost all members of Congress, refuses to release his own returns.
"These nominees are highly successful. There are at least three billionaires among them. Almost all are millionaires. They have ties to special interests and corporations, some of them foreign governments and special interests,” Blumenthal said. “The best way to ensure greater crediblity and trust for his cabinet is to require full disclosure of their tax returns.”).
The three mentioned above are just some of the Democrats going on record as opposed or leaning against the appointment, but do they really want to reject Mattis? Here's the WSJ on the man:
Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, named as President-elect Donald Trump’s defense secretary, doesn’t agree with his presumptive new boss on every issue of national security policy. But he encompasses traits the incoming commander-in-chief evidently prizes: professional success, the esteem of peers and an edgy public image.
Where Mr. Trump campaigned on a pledge to “tear up” the Iran nuclear deal, while Gen. Mattis, though critical, said there is “no going back” on the agreement. Mr. Trump has threatened to quit longstanding security pacts because allies don’t spend enough on defense; Gen. Mattis thinks that for any U.S. president to regard allies as freeloaders “is nuts.”
And while Mr. Trump vowed to bring back the practice of waterboarding for overseas detainees, Gen. Mattis appeared to convince him during the course of a private meeting last month that the method wasn’t useful.
Differences aside, the 66-year-old general, who retired in 2013, would bring to the administration a longtime military commander with deep battlefield experience in recent American wars, a towering reputation in the ranks and a record of friction with the Obama administration
Gen. Mattis has advocated fighting Islamic State with battles of annihilation rather than attrition. “So the first time they meet the forces that we put against them, there should be basically no survivors,” he said in a March 2015 interview.
His views come from years of commanding U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and deep involvement in key fights in both wars, including the battle of Fallujah in Iraq in 2004. He has a penchant for blunt talk and a colorful reputation that has earned him a series of nicknames, including “Mad Dog” and “Chaos.”
While known for such hard-edged quotes, the unmarried former Marine Corps officer is also considered deeply scholarly, earning another nickname, the “warrior monk.” He brought a copy of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius’ writings with him while deployed abroad to remind himself of the timelessness of impulses, challenges and solutions in warfare.
An accomplished strategist, Gen. Mattis helped develop the military’s counterinsurgency doctrine and an approach aimed at winning the support of local populations.
Over his career, he rose through the ranks from enlistee to four-star general, ultimately becoming chief of U.S. Central Command under President Obama in 2010, a position he held until his retirement three years later.
Democrats claim that their opposition is based on letting a military man head the Defense Department 3 1/2 years before a 1947 law permits it without a waiver, but is there anyone who believes that this professed desire to keep the law intact would be pressed had Obama or even Hillary appointed an individual requiring the same waiver?
It seems to me that a warrior beloved and respected by his troops, who also reads books and has a more "nuanced" view of politics, war and international relations would be the perfect compliment to The Donald, who has a tendency to, putting it delicately, shoot from the hip. The Democrats should make all the noise they want to on the issue of putting an actual military man in charge of the Defense Department, then vote for the waiver and breath a sigh of relief that they hadn't freed Trump to pick someone else.