How Democrats in Congress should react to Trump is being hotly debated right now. One school is hard-line resistance–take a page from the Republicans’ playbook and obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. Give no ground to Trump on anything, and fight every appointment, nominee and bill that comes from him.
Others, like Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, seem unwilling to oppose Trump on everything. Specifically, I’m talking about James Mattis, the retired Marine Corps general that Trump nominated to be Secretary of Defense (though federal law prohibits a military officer from serving as Defense Secretary until he or she has been retired for seven years, Congress last week passed a special waiver for Mattis, since he only retired in 2013). On Jan. 13, Schatz announced that he would vote to confirm Mattis. Schatz gave multiple reasons for this–most notably, though, was his view that Mattis would act as a check against Trump’s nasty, thoughtless impulses.
“General Mattis is a thoughtful, articulate, well-read leader that has enjoyed the respect of civilian military leaders on a bipartisan basis,” Schatz said in a news release from his office. “He recognizes that national security requires more than a strong defense and the importance of empowering those working in diplomacy and development. He understands issues affecting civil-military relations and is resolved to address them. His commitment to the Constitution and international legal norms is what we would demand of any civilian secretary. But more than anything, he has proven he can moderate the president-elect on even his most radical views, and that is the kind of influence we need in the next senior national security team.”
Photo of James Mattis: US Marine Corps/Wikimedia Commons