Democrat Jim Webb being floated for defense secretary

Democrat Jim Webb being floated for defense secretary

Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, had been Mattis' deputy and it was unclear how long he will remain acting secretary.

Mattis announced his resignation days after Trump said he was planning to pull USA troops completely out of war-torn Syria, at first declaring Islamic State had been defeated and then asserting that the militant group should be handled by other countries in the region.

A Vietnam veteran, Webb briefly registered on the 2016 campaign's media radar when asked who he was most proud to have as an enemy, answering "I would have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he's not around right now to talk to".

The defence official said Shanahan would later Wednesday attend a cabinet meeting with Trump, the president's first of 2019.

It said Republican senators Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham and former Republican Senator Jim Talent had also been mentioned as possible replacements for Mattis.

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Mattis bids farewell to Pentagon with call to 'hold fast'
He wrote that the president has "the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with" his. Trump has suggested Shanahan could stay in the role as acting secretary for a considerable amount of time.

Kim calls for corresponding U.S. measures, ready to meet Trump
He said North Korea had shown it was willing to take steps towards denuclearisation, but the USA needed to offer more compromise. There was no immediate comment from the White House and asked for a reaction, a spokesperson for the U.S.

In his Cabinet meeting remarks with reporters present, Trump said he was in no rush to get US troops out of Syria but did not clarify a timetable.

Mattis had strongly held beliefs about maintaining and respecting allies, which he cited in his resignation letter to Trump.

"We have some great allies, but a lot of our allies were taking advantage of our taxpayers and our country", Trump said. Trump says the US should let the Taliban and Islamic State militants fight each other there.

Trump tweeted days later that Mattis would depart the administration at the beginning of the year, as opposed to his initial departure date of February 28, writing that he had given Mattis a "second chance" in government after he was "ingloriously fired" by former President Barack Obama. It said what it described as a senior Defense Department official confirmed Webb's name had been circulating at the White House. Shanahan had been the deputy secretary since July 2017. It emphasizes the importance of great power competition with Russian Federation and China, after America's many years of fighting insurgent wars in the Middle East.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have plumbed new depths under Trump, with a trade war and disagreements over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

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