United States President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former marine General James Mattis as his defence secretary. Mattis has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He is our best,” Trump said while announcing his choice. He said Mattis was the closest the country had to World War II commander General George Patton.
Mattis has been vocal about his reservations against Barack Obama’s Middle East policy. He had said that Iran was “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East”. Mattis had retired in 2013. According to existing rules, a retired military officer cannot serve as defence secretary for at least seven years after retirement, TIME reported.
This is not Trump’s first controversial nomination to a key post since he won the US presidential election against Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton on November 8. On November 30, Trump selected Georgia Congressman and orthopaedic surgeon Tom Price as his health and human services secretary. Besides, Indiana health policy consultant Seema Verma was chosen for the post of administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The selection of Price, a known critic of Obamacare, has put the future of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in doubt. However, Price’s nomination needs to be confirmed by the Senate. If confirmed, Price’s department will have an annual budget of more than $1 trillion. With that amount, it will look into health programmes, monitor agencies that regulate food and drugs and sponsor biomedical research.
Democrats severely criticised the selection of Price. “Nominating Congressman Price to be the HHS secretary is akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house,” said New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told The New York Times that Price “poses a grave threat to women’s health” and warned that that as health secretary he “could take women back decades.”