The Trump administration is considering Jim Webb, a former Democratic senator who also served as Navy secretary under Republican President Ronald Reagan, to be the next defense secretary, the New York Times reported on Thursday.
Citing an unnamed official, the Times said Vice President Mike Pence and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had reached out to Webb. It said what it described as a senior Defense Department official confirmed Webb’s name had been circulating at the White House.
Jim Mattis stepped down from his job as secretary of defense on Tuesday and President Donald Trump said a day later he had essentially fired Mattis, a retired Marine general whose letter of resignation was seen as a sharp rebuke to the Republican president.
Mattis resigned after Trump’s surprise decisions to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria and half of the 14,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan. Trump has named Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing Co executive who was Mattis’s deputy, as acting defense secretary.
The Times said Webb could potentially allow Trump to bypass “more hawkish Republicans whose names have been floated to replace Jim Mattis.”
It said Republican senators Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham and former Republican Senator Jim Talent had also been mentioned as possible replacements for Mattis.
The White House declined to comment on the Times report.
The Times said Webb did not respond to a request for comment.
Webb, 72, is a decorated war veteran who served in the Vietnam War, the author of 10 books and an Emmy award-making journalist and filmmaker.
A former U.S. senator from Virginia, Webb ran a long-shot campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
“Americans don’t like the extremes to which both parties have moved in recent years and, quite frankly, neither do I,” he said in October 2015 when announcing he was dropping his bid.
Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and James Dalgleish
Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera attacks former White House press secretary on Twitter as ‘old douche’
In a bizarre moment, Sunday evening politics turned into a war of wards in President Donald Trump's Twitter comments.
Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera responded to former press secretary Joe Lockhart, who had replied to one of the tweets Trump retweeted from Rivera.
"Gloom settling on Democrats as they realize they’ve taken their best kill shot & missed. Dems in despair. Republicans United. @realDonaldTrump survives & #Impeachment all over but the shouting," said Rivera, hopefully not literally saying that Democrats wanted to shoot or kill the president.
Lockhart responded to the comment by mocking the Fox News host, saying that he was only making the comment to help get his contract renewed.
Cartoon Chief Justice tells Susan Collins to just quit and ‘go become a lobbyist’ already
Cartoon Chief Justice John Roberts began the latest season of Stephen Colbert's animated show, which began its new season Sunday.
Facing the U.S. Senate, Roberts observed Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) dressed as a mouse.
"Oh no! Mouse in the chamber! Everybody forget this vote and run!" the cartoon senator said.
"Senator Collins, just go be a lobbyist," cartoon Roberts said.
As Roberts explained the rules to the chamber, Collins was then spotted spilling gasoline on the floor.
"Everyone, please remember, this is the United States Senate," Roberts said. "We must not degrade the sacred institution home to Strom Thurmond. Let us comport ourselves with dignity, prudence, and Senator Collins, what are you doing?"
Republican senator admits he didn’t know about Bolton’s confirmation of Trump’s bribery — but still doesn’t care
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) still doesn't necessarily believe that President Donald Trump should be convicted, even though former national security adviser John Bolton revealed a first-hand account in his unpublished manuscript.
"Well, didn't know that until a little bit ago," Braun told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt. "I think that's a discussion we'll have have to contend with and it'll be here in a couple of days. When it comes to additional information, I think for many of us -- and I need to cite this because where I'm from, as much as president infuriates maybe half the country, it would be the opposite. And it is a tricky combination like I told Chuck Todd this morning, between using your conscience and having to decide what the people in your state are wanting."