[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted today to approve the nomination of General James Mattis to be Secretary of Defense. The nomination, which was approved by a vote of 26-1, must now be considered by the full Senate before General Mattis is confirmed.
“I have deep respect for General Mattis – a military leader with a lifetime of distinguished and courageous service to our nation. He is committed to American air superiority – including the F-35 program – and fully understands the strategic advantage our submarines provide to our national defense. Most critically, I believe that General Mattis has a deep appreciation of the need for care and caution in the use of military power – a perspective that should provide desperately needed balance and stability in a Trump Administration,” Blumenthal said.
Last week, Blumenthal cast a vote against legislation that would allow a one-time exception to waive the “cooling off period” for recently retired military officers for the Secretary of Defense, noting that his vote “was about the principle, not the individual” and warning that “we cannot allow the exception to swallow the rule.” This legislation was required in order to approve the nomination of General Mattis by the Senate Armed Services Committee – and eventually the full Senate. Although the legislation will only apply to the first nominee for Secretary of Defense under the new Administration, Blumenthal expressed grave concern about the dangerous precedent it sets and the lack of a compelling argument to break with the foundational element of our nation since its inception based on principle and not on the individual.