In recent days, retired General James “Mad Dog” Mattis has become a possible member of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. Trump admitted as much in a tweet on Monday.
“General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General’s General!” Trump wrote.
With General Mattis as a candidate for Secretary of Defense, President-elect Trump would get a military figure who is beloved by many who have worn the uniform.
Over the last several years, memes of Mattis have been to military-oriented Facebook pages, what Joe Biden memes have been to the left. The memes play upon Mattis’ reputation as a “warrior monk.” They pull real quotes from Mattis that express hope and wisdom, or invent quotes that express a high level of baddassery.
In this corner of the internet that is filled with private groups with names like “GENERAL JAMES ‘MAD DOG’ MATTIS TO LEAD THE PATRIOTIC REVOLUTION,” Mattis has become a near mythic figure.
Mattis’ final post as a member of the Armed Forces was as the 11th commander of United States Central Command.
Prior to his post at CENCOM, Mattis served in the Armed Forces since 1969. The Washington State native has never married and has no children.
Throughout his presidential campaign, President-elect Trump said he would surround himself with those experienced in foreign policy once he is president. In a 2016 interview with the Military Times, Mattis explained that the relationship between civilian and military on such matters is often a very bleak one.
“Policy makers who have never served in the military” will “continue to use the military to lead social change in this country,” Mattis explained. “We are liable to find ourselves paying the cost on a battlefield that we do not want to pay. There is no God-given right to victory on the battlefield. You win that through the skill and the devotion, the valor and the ferocity of your troops. You have to be very, very careful, I think, if this gap grows, and it surely will. We have to be very careful that we do not undercut the military battlefield effectiveness with shortsighted social programs.”