Jim Webb For Secretary Of Defense?
Former Senator and Denocratic Presidential candidate Jim Webb is reportedly being considered for Defense Secretary.
The New York Times is reporting that the Trump Administration is reportedly considering former Democratic Senator Jim Webb, who also served as Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration, as Secretary of Defense:
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering Jim Webb, a former Democratic senator and Reagan-era secretary of the Navy, to be the next defense secretary, according to three officials, potentially bypassing more hawkish Republicans whose names have been floated to replace Jim Mattis.
Mr. Webb, an outspoken opponent of the Iraq war, is being considered as President Trump seeks to carry out campaign promises to withdraw American troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
Representatives for Vice President Mike Pence and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, have reached out to Mr. Webb, one of the three officials said. Separately, a senior Defense Department official confirmed that Mr. Webb’s name had been circulating at the White House. Those two and the third official all spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal discussions.
Mr. Webb did not respond to a request for comment. How seriously he is being considered was unclear; Mr. Trump likes to float names as he considers his options for various openings in the government — sometimes to test responses and sometimes to keep the news media guessing.
But the views of Mr. Webb, a former one-term Democratic senator from Virginia and candidate during the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, align closely with Mr. Trump’s drive to pull American troops from the Middle East and confront China more aggressively.
During a Democratic primary debate in 2015, Mr. Webb railed against Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea and cyberattacks on Americans.
“If you want a place where we need to be in terms of our national strategy, a focus, the greatest strategic threat that we have right now is resolving our relationship with China,” Mr. Webb said.
Much like Mr. Trump, Mr. Webb was also critical of President Barack Obama’s efforts in 2015 to strike a deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear program. “The end result of this could well be our acquiescence in allowing Iran to develop a nuclear weapon,” Mr. Webb said.
Ronald Reagan appointed Mr. Webb first as an assistant secretary of defense and, in 1987, as secretary of the Navy, where he pushed for modernizing the fleet and opening more jobs for women in the service. Between his stints in government, Mr. Webb continued his writing career, which includes the critically acclaimed Vietnam War novel “Fields of Fire.” He switched parties and in 2006 ran for the Senate as a Democrat; there, he helped pass the post-9/11 G.I. Bill and oversaw Asia-Pacific issues on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Other names that have surfaced as potential replacements for Mr. Mattis have included a former Republican senator, Jim Talent of Missouri, and two current ones, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. David H. Petraeus, the retired Army general and former C.I.A. director, was considered for the post earlier in the Trump administration but recently told the BBC that he “cannot envision returning to government at this time.”
Last week, Mr. Trump said Mr. Shanahan might remain as acting secretary “for a long time.”
As Allahpundit notes at Hot Air, there is some level of agreement on foreign policy between Webb and Trump notwithstanding the fact that they are ostensibly members of opposing parties. Webb, for example, was a critic of the Iraq War just as Trump became in later years even though he initially supported it. Additionally, Webb was critical of the Obama Administration’s policy in Syria, including its decision to place troops on the ground, and he has suggested in the past that its time to bring the American commitment in Afghanistan to an end, Additionally, Webb has a military career that includes graduation from the Naval Academy, service in Vietnam during which he was awarded several of the nation’s top military honors, and a stint in the Defense Department under President Reagan that included service as Secretary of the Navy, although he only lasted there about a year and was not exactly known as someone who worked well with others, a tendency that followed him to the Senate and which led, in part, to his decision to retire rather than run for re-election after just one term,
Notwithstanding all of that, it’s unclear if Webb would be the best person to serve in this Administration at this point in time. First of all, as noted, Webb is not exactly known as someone who works well with others so it’s unclear that he’d fit in well as a Cabinet Secretary. Second, given the way that Trump has treated other members of his Cabinet and foreign policy team, including but not limited to Jess Sessions, Rex Tillerson, H,R, McMaster, Jim Mattis, and others. Given that, one wonders why Webb or anyone else would want to be part of this Administration,
In any case, Webb is not the only name that has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Mattis in the Pentagon. Other names include former Missouri Senator Jim Talent, current Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Lindsey Graham, as well as retired General and former Central Intelligence Agency head David Petraeus. Petraeus, though, reportedly said that he would most likely decline to serve in a Trump White House. At this point, though, it isn’t clear who the frontrunner might be or when a selection might be made,