Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Trump’s pick to lead the Pentagon, has been giving transition officials a hard time over appointments to the Defense Department, a new report from The Washington Post states.
According to the report, Mattis isn’t satisfied with many of the candidates the transition team has put forward for several top positions, and has been rejecting many of the individuals brought to his attention.
But time is running out, as we’re only two weeks away from Trump’s Inauguration and James Mattis’ Senate confirmation hearing, yet most of the major Pentagon civilian positions are still empty.
Mattis’ inability to fill the positions is straining the relationship between transition officials and James Mattis himself, which many claim could lead to a rocky relationship between the Pentagon and the White House once the Trump administration takes office.
According to the report, things took a turn for the worse when Trump selected Army veteran and fellow billionaire Vincent Viola for Army secretary.
‘Mattis was furious. It made him suspicious of the transition team and things devolved from there,’ a source told The Washington Post.
So far, James Mattis has rejected almost every single name put forward by the Trump transition team. The report also states that he’s unlikely to accept a member Trump’s top Pentagon transition team, Mira Ricardel, for a top position.
Speaking about Mattis, the source told the Post:
‘Let’s put it this way, he’s being very picky about the options presented to him.’
However, Trump’s transition team maintains that the transition is ahead of schedule, telling the Post in an email:
‘We are ahead of schedule with assembling the most qualified cabinet and administration in history. Any implication contrary to that is completely false and from sources who do not have any knowledge of our transition efforts.’
Of course, some competition over positions is to be expected, as is a little chaos, but according to the Post, the President-elect is “off to a bad start.”
It’ll be interesting to find out how just who gets chosen and how things are resolved, but he had better do so quickly, because time is running out fast.
Retired Army General Michael Flynn was chosen as Trump’s national security adviser. According to the report, the squabbling over appointments is likely a sign of tensions between the two generals, Mattis and Flynn.
Mattis outranked Flynn when Flynn was DIA director, a three-star position, according to the Post. At the same time, Mattis was a four-star general and the head of Central Command.
James Mattis is currently in the running to become a Cabinet member and a member of Trump’s National Security Council (NSC), however, the report states that Michael Flynn has close ties to Trump as well.
Regardless, it’ll be interesting to watch what unfolds over the next two weeks leading up to Inauguration Day. Hopefully, for the sake of national security, only the best individuals will be chosen to fill positions within the Department of Defense.
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