President-Elect Joe Biden tapped retired four-star general Lloyd Austin to be his secretary of defense Tuesday, rounding out a series of appointments.
Biden made the announcement through an article in The Atlantic, specifically touting Austin’s role in bringing 150,000 troops home from the Middle East under the Obama administration. Biden also highlighted Austin’s race, saying he is only the sixth African-American to attain the rank of Army four-star general.
“In his more than 40 years in the United States Army, Austin met every challenge with extraordinary skill and profound personal decency,” Biden wrote. “He is a true and tested soldier and leader. I’ve spent countless hours with him, in the field and in the White House Situation Room.” (RELATED: Defense Secretary Says Trump Is Wrong — ‘I Do Not Support’ Mobilizing Military To Police Floyd Protests, Riots)
Like President-elect Biden, General Lloyd Austin believes we have the strongest military in the world—and that we must lead not with the example of our power, but the power of our example. pic.twitter.com/6aKTyqtxkw
— Biden-Harris Presidential Transition (@Transition46) December 8, 2020
Lloyd retired from the military four years ago. Law requires that a veteran be at least seven years out of military service before serving as defense secretary. President Donald Trump faced a similar issue when he appointed Marine Corps four star general Jim Mattis to the position.
“I hope that Congress will grant a waiver to Secretary-designate Austin, just as Congress did for Secretary Jim Mattis,” Biden wrote. “Given the immense and urgent threats and challenges our nation faces, he should be confirmed swiftly.”
Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Caine has already expressed hesitance to waive the 7-year requirement so soon after doing so for Mattis, however.
Tim Kaine on Lloyd Austin:
“Regarding the legal barrier for this nomination, I intend to closely evaluate the implications for waiving the National Security Act requirement twice in just four years.”
This is tough for a lot of Dems to stomach
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) December 8, 2020
Republicans have yet to comment on the issue, however.
Biden also made nominations for his coronavirus task force Tuesday, and officially announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci, who currently serves on Trump’s COVID-19 task force, would be staying on through to the Biden administration.