Bipartisan lawmakers urge Air Force secretary for top Defense position

Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuVideo of Princess Anne shrugging as Queen greets Trump goes viral Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Adam Schiff's star rises with impeachment hearings MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Democratic challenger to Joni Ernst releases ad depicting her as firing gun at him Republicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members MORE (R-Iowa) are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE to choose Air Force secretary Heather Wilson to replace outgoing Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThreatening foreign states with sanctions can backfire Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Amazon to challenge Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court 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.