Josh Rogin writes: Initially, both Mattis and the Trump team intended to engage in a collaborative process whereby Mattis would be given significant influence and participation in selecting top Pentagon appointees.
But the arrangement started going south only two weeks later when Mattis had to learn from the news media that Trump had selected Vincent Viola, a billionaire Army veteran, to be secretary of the Army, one source close to the transition said.
“Mattis was furious,” said the source. “It made him suspicious of the transition team, and things devolved from there.”
Service secretaries represent potential alternate power centers inside the Defense Department, and Mattis as defense secretary has an interest in having secretaries who are loyal to him and don’t have independent relationships with the White House.
Mattis is also pushing for the Trump transition team to allow “Never Trump” Republicans to serve in the Pentagon, but so far the Trump team is refusing. [Continue reading…]