Tim Ryan Calls Mattis 'Qualified' to Head Pentagon, Will Support Him

December 8, 2016

Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) called retired Marine Gen. James Mattis "qualified" to be secretary of defense and will support his nomination by President-elect Donald Trump for the post.

Ryan rose to prominence last month by challenging Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to become the top House Democrat as the chamber's minority leader. Ryan ultimately lost, but many observers said his run illustrated the Democratic Party's trouble with white, working-class voters after the 2016 elections.

MSNBC host Craig Melvin asked Ryan about Mattis' nomination and how many Democrats are planning on not voting to granting the retired general a waiver to serve as secretary of defense. Mattis, who retired from the Marine Corps in 2013, will need a waiver from Congress to serve in Trump’s Cabinet because of a decades-old law that requires former military personnel to have been out of the service for at least seven years before heading the Pentagon.

"Well, in my opinion, I think he's qualified to do the job," Ryan said. "I don't think it's a good idea for us to, from the very beginning, say we're going to oppose every single decision every time."

"The American people elected Donald Trump, as much as we don't like that. I think we have to give him an opportunity, and I think with regard to the general, I think he's proven himself qualified," Ryan continued.

Ryan also said that while he supports Mattis' nomination, there needs to be a debate in Congress on granting the waiver.