White House press secretary Josh Earnest praised Donald Trump’s nomination of James Mattis during Wednesday’s White House press briefing.
“General Mattis has served as the commander of Central Command for two or three years while President Obama was in office,” Earnest told reporters. “He has served his country with distinction as a decorated Marine Corps veteran.”
He also notably declined to comment on Gen. Mattis’ three years in retirement, four short of the seven years required of former military officials before heading the Department of Defense.
“All of these principles come into play, and I certainly wouldn’t want any sort of commentary about this to be construed as some sort of implicit criticism of Gen. Mattis for a variety of reasons.”
Earnest further stated that President-elect Trump should be given “significant latitude” in nominating cabinet officials.
“President Obama has long made the argument that while the Senate does have some responsibility to confirm the president’s nominees,” he explained. “The president, at the same time, should be given a significant latitude to assemble his team.”