This weekend saw a flurry of speculation that retired Marine Gen. James Mattis has emerged as President-elect Donald Trump’s leading pick for secretary of defense. But inside the Trump transition, there’s still a big push for former senator Jim Talent (R-Mo.).
Talent, who met with Trump last week, is favored by those inside the Trump camp who believe a civilian should lead the Pentagon, not a former military officer. Talent’s supporters include incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who also has supported consideration of former national security adviser Stephen Hadley
.. Talent may also find support from an unlikely source: incoming national security adviser Mike Flynn, a retired three star general who last headed the Defense Intelligence Agency. Sources said Flynn, who is heavily involved in the national security personnel transition discussions, doesn’t want any military officer who outranked him to be part of the Trump Cabinet.
.. “You don’t want a military attitude in the civilian position,” Rogers told CNN.
.. If Trump does choose Talent, it would be a signal to the foreign policy community that he intends to build bridges with a part of the GOP establishment that remains very wary of his plans for the United States’ role abroad...The question is whether Trump is interested in a senior foreign policy civilian or a general with warfighting experience atop the Pentagon.