Bipartisan lawmakers urge Air Force secretary for top Defense position

Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuLawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Cities are the future: We need to coordinate their international diplomacy George Conway opposes #unfollowTrump movement MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstErnst town hall in Iowa gets contentious over guns Air Force probe finds no corroboration of sexual assault allegations against Trump pick Gun control activists set to flex muscle in battle for Senate MORE (R-Iowa) are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE to choose Air Force secretary Heather Wilson to replace outgoing Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOnly Donald Trump has a policy for Afghanistan New Pentagon report blames Trump troop withdrawal for ISIS surge in Iraq and Syria Mattis returns to board of General Dynamics 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."  

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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.