Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis will not run as an independent candidate in the presidential election despite pressure from conservative billionaires.
Weekly Standard editor William Kristol confirmed to associates Friday that "after much consideration" Mattis decided to rule out a presidential bid, the New York Times first reported.
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A Republican strategist tasked with formulating the plan for a potential Mattis run said separately that the former general had "decided definitely not to pursue a run for president."
"The thoughtfulness and patriotism—and for that matter, the modesty—Jim showed as he reflected on this decision make me more convinced than ever that he would have made a truly admirable president, and also a good candidate," Kristol wrote in an email obtained by the New York Times. "But it’s not to be. So we won’t have a President Mattis."
Conservative operatives were hoping to draft Mattis as a third-party candidate during the general election to siphon votes from current frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Donors earlier this month told The Daily Beast that the goal of the campaign was to deny Trump and Clinton the 270 electoral votes needed to win the general election. This would force the incoming members of the House of Representatives to decide who would serve as the U.S.’s 45th president.
Mattis, the former commander of the U.S. Central Command, met with operatives in Washington, D.C. last week to discuss a potential campaign, but he ultimately decided against a run.
Nicknamed "Mad Dog" by his troops, Mattis served in the military for 44 years and was dubbed the "most revered Marine general" in a generation by the Military Times.