Graham to support Defense pick he previously declared his 'adversary'

Graham to support Defense pick he previously declared his 'adversary'
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Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamNavarro: 'Don't fall for' message from TikTok lobbyists, 'puppet CEO' Graham defends Trump on TikTok, backs Microsoft purchase The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - At loggerheads, Congress, White House to let jobless payout lapse MORE (R-S.C.) said on Thursday that he will support 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's nomination to be President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE's next Defense secretary, despite previously clashing with Shanahan over Syria. 
 
Graham said he viewed Shanahan, who has been serving as acting secretary since December, as a "logical choice" and that he expects to support him when his nomination comes to the Senate.
 
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"He has demonstrated to me his detailed understanding that a strong, modern, and well-trained military is essential in a dangerous and complex world," Graham said. 
 
Graham added he hopes Shanahan, as the Pentagon chief, would "advocate for defense policies that lead from the front, not from behind. I also hope and expect he will make it clear to America’s adversaries that we mean what we say, and that our allies see us as a reliable partner." 
 
The White House's Thursday announcement comes as the Trump administration grapples with rising tensions in a number of high-profile hot spots around the globe. 
  
Graham reportedly clashed with Shanahan during a security conference in Munich earlier this year about the administration's decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria. Trump ultimately shifted away from that decision amid fierce backlash from Graham and other GOP senators. 
 
Graham, speaking to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin in February, said that he told Shanahan that the Trump administration's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria by the end of April was “the dumbest f---ing idea I’ve ever heard."
 
“Well, if the policy is going to be that we are leaving by April 30, I am now your adversary, not your friend,” Graham said he told Shanahan.
 
Shanahan, according to an NBC News report detailing the exchange, fired back at Graham to ask if he had any more questions "as an adversary."
 
Shanahan, if he's ultimately confirmed, would be the first Senate-approved Defense secretary since James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump prizes loyalty over competence — we are seeing the results Lawmakers torch Trump plan to pull 11,900 troops from Germany Are US-Japan relations on the rocks? MORE's departure from the role late last year. 
 
Mattis's decision to resign shook the Senate GOP caucus, with many lawmakers viewing Mattis as closer to their foreign policy views than Trump. Shanahan will likely face tough questions during his confirmation hearing about his ties to Boeing, where he was a former executive, and Trump's foreign policy and military strategy.