At Fayetteville rally, Trump announces Mattis as pick for defense secretary

Trump (left) with retired General James Mattis at the microphone on Tuesday night in Fayetteville. CBS North Carolina photo

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — At a rally in Fayetteville Tuesday night Donald Trump announced that General James Mattis will be his nominee for Secretary of Defense.

Soon after the formal announcement at the town which is home to Fort Bragg, Mattis took the stage with Trump.

Mattis, a retired Marine general, is also known by his nickname “Mad Dog.”

Mattis said that he is looking forward to serving as head of the Pentagon as long as “Congress gives me the waiver.”

Many in the crowd Tuesday night made barking noises in a sign of support as Mattis took the stage

.”Mad dog? Oh, yeah, Mad Dog I’m all for him. Marine Corps. Ooh rah!” said Jimmy Stroud, who was in the crowd in Fayetteville.

Trump also repeated his vow to reinforce the nation’s military, believing it will lead to “peace through strength.”

He said, “We seek to build up our arms not to seek conflict, but to avoid conflict.”

Mattis will require a congressional waiver to accept the post since he has not been out of uniform for the required seven years.

Trump returned to the Crown Coliseum, where he campaigned earlier this year.

During the rally, Trump also talked tax reform and illegal immigration.

Those are just two of several areas he’s looking for new administration members to take on.

One possible job applicant is outgoing North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who attended the rally.

Trump didn’t mention him during his speech, but the two are due to meet Wednesday at Trump Tower in New York City.

The rally is part of Trump’s tour of battleground states where voters helped him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. He’ll be in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday and Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

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