January 20, 2017

Van Hollen Statement on Confirmation of General James Mattis

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen submitted the following statement to the congressional record on the vote to confirm General James Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense:

"Mr. President, I support the nomination of General James Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense.

"I voted against enacting an exception to the National Security Act for a recently-retired General to serve as Secretary of Defense, but that vote was in support of our Nation's tradition of civilian leadership of the military. Now that General Mattis' nomination is before the Senate on the merits, I believe that he will provide the experience and steady hand that will serve this administration well.

"General Mattis has served as a commander of NATO coalition troops. He commanded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he was Commander of the United States Central Command, responsible for American military operations in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, and Central Asia. General Mattis has served as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and Members of both parties who have worked with him have testified to his breadth of knowledge and understanding of key threats and America's role in the world.

"I was heartened to hear in the course of General Mattis's hearing and the Senate's consideration of his nomination that he has many views that are more reasoned than those expressed by President-elect Trump. His testimony made clear that he recognizes the very real challenges posed by Russia, and the importance of reassuring our NATO allies of America's commitment to our common defense and mutual obligations. I am pleased to hear that General Mattis opposes the use of torture and has no intention to reverse Department of Defense policies on women and the LGBT community. I hope that General Mattis's counsel will persuade President Trump on these matters.

"I believe that General Mattis's knowledge of and familiarity with international affairs will be of help to the incoming President and the Nation. And thus I support his nomination."