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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE said Wednesday that “everyone and their uncle” wants outgoing Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPresident Trump: To know him is to 'No' him Nearly 300 more former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter John Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report 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 ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January 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.