As he kicked off his thank-you tour in Cincinnati, Ohio, President-elect Donald Trump announced — sort of — that he was naming U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis as defense secretary.
But he told the crowd and the TV cameras not to let it out of the room.
“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our secretary of defense, but we are not announcing it until Monday so don’t tell anybody,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the general by his nickname.
“They say he is the closest thing to General George Patton that we have, and it is about time, it is about time,” he said.
For the general to assume the post, he would need Congress to waive a federal law that bars anyone who has been on active duty in the last seven years from becoming defense secretary.
Gen. Mattis, 66, retired as commander of the U.S. Central Command in 2013 after more than 40-year career in the Marine Corps.