Bipartisan lawmakers urge Air Force secretary for top Defense position

Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuKamala Harris shopping trip stirs Twitter campaign trail debate Newsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Hispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstPush for paid family leave heats up ahead of 2020 Ivanka Trump to meet with GOP senators to discuss paid family leave legislation On The Money: Negotiators aiming to reach deal Monday night | Why border talks stalled | Treasury calls reports on dip in tax refunds 'misleading' | Cuomo, Trump to discuss SALT deduction cap MORE (R-Iowa) are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE to choose Air Force secretary Heather Wilson to replace outgoing Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Overnight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Top US general: Trump wrong on Syria pullout, ISIS defeat MORE

"I've seen firsthand Air Force Sec Heather Wilson's leadership for our men and women in uniform - she would make a great Secretary of Defense and make our country proud," Ernst tweeted on Sunday.

"I agree with that Heather Wilson would be a great Secretary of Defense," Lieu said, retweeting Ernst's post. "Wilson embodies the core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do."  

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump announced on Sunday that Mattis, who resigned in disagreement with the president last week, would leave his job on Jan. 1, two months before his planned departure. 

Mattis’s deputy, Patrick Shanahan, will serve as acting Pentagon chief.

Several names have emerged as possible front-runners to succeed Mattis.

Trump once reportedly considered firing Wilson over her handling of his proposed "Space Force," Foreign Policy reported earlier this year.

Wilson reportedly angered Trump and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan with a perceived campaign to undermine Trump’s order to launch the "Space Force," a new military branch.

"There is no discussion by the President to oust Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson - all reporting to the contrary is simply false," White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in an email at the time.

Wilson opposed the idea of a separate branch of the military for space last year, but she has said she is in "complete alignment” with Trump's new push. 

-Updated 11:19 p.m.