Metro Weekly

Trump picks Jim Mattis as Secretary of Defense

Retired Marine Corps general reportedly opposed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Gen. James Mattis - Photo: U.S. Department of Defense.
Gen. James Mattis – Photo: U.S. Department of Defense.

Trump Cabinet, Cabinet-Level Nominee and Adviser Threat Gauge

Name: James “Mad Dog” Mattis

Position: Secretary of Defense

LGBT record: Reportedly opposed allowing open service and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Threat Level: 🔥 — Sparks and small flames

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his nominee to be the next Secretary of Defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis is best known for his “tough guy” image over four decades of military service, including a stint as the chief of U.S. Central Command until his retirement n 2013.

In order to take the job, Mattis will need Congress to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law stating that defense secretaries must not have been on active duty during the past seven years. Congress has only granted one exemption to that law, in 1950, for Gen. George Marshall.

Mattis is known as an Iran hawk, favoring a tougher approach to stop the country from acquiring a nuclear weapon. He is a critic of the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration last year, and has called the Iranian regime “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.”

As for LGBT issues, Mattis has little or no record of public comments, even about military-related changes such as allowing LGBT soldiers to serve openly. But according to ThinkProgress and the blog LezGetReal in 2010, part of the reason that Gen. James Amos was then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ preferred choice for commandant of the Marine Corps was the fact that he was more amenable to repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy than other possible picks, including Mattis. 

“Generals Dunford and Mattis are said to be far less willing to consider a repeal of DADT and far closer to General Conway’s views on the issue [opposing] lesbians and gays serving openly,” LezGetReal reported at the time.

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