Trump: 'Everybody and his uncle' and 'her aunt' wants Mattis's job

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE said Wednesday that “everyone and their uncle” wants outgoing Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisWatchdog: Former Pentagon spokeswoman misused staff for personal errands Senate panel advances Pentagon chief, Joint Chiefs chairman nominees The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment MORE’s job, before quickly adding "and her aunt" so he "won't be criticized."

“I will say that I've got everybody — everybody and his uncle wants that position,” Trump said. “And also, by the way, everybody and her aunt  just so I won't be criticized for that last statement,” he added.

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Trump's comments came during a surprise trip to Iraq to visit with U.S. troops on Wednesday.

The president indicated that he is in “no rush” to name a permanent successor for Mattis, who announced his resignation last week. 

The president's remarks came as he told reporters at the al-Asad Air Base in Iraq that new acting Pentagon chief Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanOvernight Defense: US shoots down Iranian drone | Pentagon sending 500 more troops to Saudi Arabia | Trump mulls Turkey sanctions | Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract Pentagon sending 500 more troops to Saudi Arabia: reports The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE "could be there for a long time."

Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, was named Mattis’s deputy in July 2017 after serving less than two years in the government.

“So Shanahan was at Boeing and did a great job at Boeing. He was there for a long time,” Trump said, according to a poll report. “Boeing is a hell of a company. He did a great job — very responsible for the success of a certain plane, the Dreamliner. And he's a respected man.”

Mattis resigned following Trump’s announcement that he planned to pull U.S. troops from Syria, claiming victory over the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

He wrote in a resignation letter that the president deserved a Defense secretary whose views “align” with Trump’s.