Gen. Jack Keane insists he has no intention of going back into public service, but nevertheless his name is being floated as a top candidate to replace outgoing Defense Secretary James Mattis. Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff and current Fox News contributor, is a defense hawk and has supported President Trump on many foreign policy fronts, in particular his tough stance on Iran.
However, he appears to have the same disagreements with the president that drove Mattis out. In his resignation letter on Thursday, Mattis respectfully, yet directly, explained that he and Trump do not align on several key points. The latest of those disputes was Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.
Keane and Mattis are "of one mind in opposing" that announcement.
Scathing criticism of POTUS Syria withdrawal from Jack Keane, a top candidate to replace Mattis: “This is a huge strategic mistake that I hope the President will reconsider and if he does not, I believe with some degree of confidence that he will come to regret this decision.”— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) December 21, 2018
Keane and Trump may be able to overcome their differences on Syria, but again he told the press he doesn't want the position. He's "confident" the president will be able to find "a capable person to serve the nation."
Several Republicans have also come out strongly opposed to Trump's Syria strategy, including veterans.
My latest op-ed on Syria. @realDonaldTrump is fighting to protect our borders, and deserves great credit for that. But the world is a small place and chaos spreads easily. We go there so that they don’t come here. https://t.co/Ffry88OXQl— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) December 21, 2018
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made a dire prediction that the president's move will re-embolden ISIS.
"A decision to withdraw will also be viewed as a boost to ISIS desire to come back," he wrote on Twitter.
As of Friday morning, Trump was standing by his decision.
General Anthony Tata, author, “Dark Winter.” I think the President is making the exact right move in Syria. All the geniuses who are protesting the withdrawal of troops from Syria are the same geniuses who cooked the books on ISIS intelligence and gave rise to ISIS.”— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
Fox News's Jennifer Griffin said we can expect "more resignations" from the Pentagon.
In addition to Gen. Keane, some names that are being touted as possible successors to Mattis include Sen. Graham, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.