President Trump’s search for his next Defense Secretary is reportedly having him look into former Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb.
The Washington Examiner reports representatives from Vice President Mike Pence’s office have reached out to Webb to replace the departing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Besides Webb’s failed presidential run in 2016, he is a former U.S. Senator from Virginia and he worked as a secretary of the Navy under President Reagan.
From the Washington Examiner:
Webb has been a staunch critic of the Iraq War, and the position comes as President Trump announced his intent to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria. That move prompted Mattis to submit his resignation last month, and as of Jan. 1 Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is serving as acting secretary of defense.
Webb appears to have more common ground with Trump. For example, Webb opposed the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, which put restraints on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.
“The end result of this could well be our acquiescence in allowing Iran to develop a nuclear weapon,” Webb said in 2015.
Trump ultimately withdrew from the deal in 2018.
According to the report, the Trump administration is also considering Republican Senators Jim Talent, Tom Cotton, and Lindsay Graham.
Breitbart reports Trump associates are supporting the idea of adding Webb to the administration: “The support for Webb may come as somewhat of a surprise, since he is a Democrat and has been largely out of the headlines since the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, when he launched a bid for president.”
The White House did not confirm any candidates, but indicated a search was underway.
“We will let you know when we have an update. No personnel announcements at this time,” spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said.
Webb, 72, is a graduate of the Naval Academy and a former Marine captain who fought in Vietnam as a Marine rifle platoon and company commander. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Navy Cross, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.
Webb, then a Republican, served in the Reagan administration as an assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, and then secretary of the Navy. He then ran as a Democrat senator in Virginia in 2006, serving one term.