McCain endorses Mattis for Defense secretary

McCain endorses Mattis for Defense secretary
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Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGrassley to test GOP on lowering drug prices Listen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal MORE (R-Ariz.) on Monday issued a ringing endorsement of retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, whom President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE is considering for Defense secretary. 

“General Mattis has a clear understanding of the many challenges facing the Department of Defense, the U.S. military, and our national security. I hope he has an opportunity to serve America again," McCain said in a statement. 

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McCain's support would signal that he would not only vote to confirm Mattis as Defense secretary, but would also support a congressional waiver to allow the retired four-star general to serve again less than seven years after retiring. 

Mattis met with Trump on Saturday morning, amid a weekend of activity as the president-elect considers picks for his national security team and other administration roles. 

After the meeting, Trump called Mattis "the real deal" and tweeted, "General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General's General!"

 “I am pleased that the President-elect found General Jim Mattis as impressive as I have in the many years I have had the privilege of knowing him," McCain said in his statement. 

"General Mattis is one of the finest military officers of his generation and an extraordinary leader who inspires a rare and special admiration of his troops. He is a forthright strategic thinker. His integrity is unshakable and unquestionable. And he has earned his knowledge and experience the old-fashioned way: in the crucible of our nation's defense and the service of heroes," he added.