A nickname like “Mad Dog” wouldn’t imply that someone has the demeanor and temperament to be considered a moderate. However, Defense Secretary James Mattis has positioned himself as just that and even unveiled some libertarian streaks.
Politico reported on Wednesday that Republicans on the Hill were frustrated with Mattis because of who he’s hired and his reluctance to demand more funding from Congress.
While war hawks have been hoping a Republican president would bring billions in more defense spending, Mattis is not asking for increases in their budget.
Another issue Republicans are having with the General is that he’s hired few people who align themselves with the GOP.
“We’ve waited eight years for this, to be able to fill these posts with Republicans,” said a top GOP Hill staffer to Politico. “We know Trump isn’t part of the establishment and that it’s going to be a bit different, but it should go without saying that a Republican administration is expected to staff federal agencies with Republicans.”
Mattis has shown opposition to hiring people with political backgrounds for high ranking positions. This might explain why he passed on former GOP Senator Jim Talent and Congressman Randy Forbes. Instead of Republicans, Mattis has pushed the White House to hire former Clinton administration staffer Rudy DeLeon and Richard V. Spencer.
Part of the reason Mattis is so hesitant to hire Republican foreign policy experts is because they attacked Trump during the election. Many war hawks have been left out in the cold since coming out against the President so heavily, expecting Hillary to win. The same is true at the State Department where many neocons have no place in the current administration.
Between circumstance and ideology, Mattis’ Department of Defense is showing the most libertarian streak in decades.