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Next Defense Secretary Could Be a Democrat

Jim Webb rumored to be front-runner
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2019 4:00 AM CST
In this June 30, 2015 file photo, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb speaks at the National Sheriffs' Association presidential forum in Baltimore.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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(Newser) – President Trump is rumored to be considering a surprising choice for defense secretary: Jim Webb, a former Democratic senator from Virginia who briefly ran for president in 2015 and was considered a front-runner to be Barack Obama's running mate in 2008. Sources tell the New York Times that White House officials have reached out to Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran who served as secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration. Despite his party affiliation, Webb has views on foreign policy that align with Trump's: He opposed the Iran nuclear deal, believes the US needs to take a tough stance with China, and was firmly against the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

If Webb does replace James Mattis, he will be tasked with overseeing the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, and potentially Afghanistan as well. Conservative Trump supporters including Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist have been calling for the president to appoint Webb, with Hemingway describing him as "aligned with the best of Donald Trump's foreign policy views," Politico reports. Other candidates rumored to be in the running are GOP Sens. Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham, as well as former GOP Sen. Jim Talent, according to the Times. (Trump claimed Wednesday that he "essentially" fired Mattis, who resigned last month.)

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