Mattis receives strong support as Pentagon leader in first vote
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.