New York Senator: I'm Voting Against Waiver That Would Allow Marine Corps General To Serve As Defense Secretary

Posted: Dec 02, 2016 3:00 PM

Well, we already have our first lawmaker who plans to oppose President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of defense. Trump picked former Marine Corps General James Mattis to head the Pentagon, but there’s a catch. Congress needs to pass a waiver for Mattis since the law states that those who had served in uniform must be retired for at least seven years before being allowed to serve as defense secretary. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has already said she will vote against the waiver out of respect for civilian control on the military (via Politico):

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said she plans to vote against the waiver required for retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to serve as Donald Trump’s defense secretary.

Gillibrand’s early opposition to the waiver came less than an hour after Trump announced he would tap Mattis for the Pentagon. The popular commander, nicknamed "Mad Dog," is still expected to become the first defense secretary nominee in more than 60 years to win the congressional waiver that's necessary to install him as the military's civilian leader given his recent service in uniform.

“While I deeply respect General Mattis’s service, I will oppose a waiver," Gillibrand said in a statement. "Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy, and I will not vote for an exception to this rule.”

Yeah, and if Clinton had won the election and picked Mattis for secretary of defense, which is possible, you think Gillibrand would vote against the waiver too? I think not.

“Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy.” Yeah—no kidding; do you think Mattis is going to storm Capitol Hill with tanks and troops should he be confirmed? I guarantee it’s not going to be Darth Vader and his storm troopers taking over the country should he have the opportunity to lead the Pentagon, which I think he will. Moreover, it’s happened before when President Harry Truman picked George Marshall to be secretary of defense. Like Trump’s win in November, we all survived. For progressives and Democrats, Gillibrand is standing on principle. For others, she’s dying on the wrong hill and just being difficult as the fledgling Trump administration take form. This isn’t unprecedented. It’s another tantrum.