Mat­tis re­ceives strong sup­port as Pen­tagon leader in first vote

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

Re­tired Gen. James Mat­tis won over­whelm­ing sup­port Thurs­day in a first vote to al­low him to run the Pen­tagon af­ter telling sen­a­tors he places Rus­sia at No. 1 on his list of se­cu­rity threats. He also ac­cused Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin is try­ing to “break” NATO.

The Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee voted 24-3 on a one-time ex­cep­tion for Mat­tis to serve as Don­ald Trump’s de­fense sec­re­tary. The mea­sure is nec­es­sary be­cause Mat­tis hasn’t been out of uni­form for at least seven years. Democrats Kirsten Gil­li­brand of New York, Richard Blu­men­thal of Con­necti­cut and El­iz­a­beth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts op­posed the leg­is­la­tion, which is ex­pected to face votes in a House com­mit­tee and the full Se­nate later in the day.

No ca­reer mil­i­tary of­fi­cer has led the Pen­tagon since the 1950s, but even some of Trump’s strong­est crit­ics have sup­ported the ex­cep­tion for Mat­tis.

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