New York Times: Former Va. Sen. Jim Webb floated for defense secretary

Jim Webb

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 13: Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb takes part in a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Five Democratic presidential candidates are participating in the party’s first presidential debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Jim Webb, a former Democratic presidential hopeful, has been floated as a potential permanent replacement for Defense Secretary James Mattis by the Trump administration, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing three officials.

Mattis stepped down from his role in December following President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement that he is pulling troops out of Syria. He has been temporarily replaced by his former deputy, Patrick Shanahan.

Webb served as secretary of the Navy under former President Ronald Reagan, and represented Virginia in the US Senate. He launched a Democratic presidential bid in 2016.

One official told The Times that representatives for Vice President Mike Pence and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reached out to Webb. Additionally, the paper reported that a senior Defense Department official said Webb’s name was in the mix.

The Times report notes that if Webb were tapped, the move would be seen as forgoing more hawkish Republican picks, since Webb was a vocal critic of the Iraq War.

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