Despite a groundswell of support from a handful of wealthy donors and after careful consideration, retired Marine Corps General James Mattis has declined to run as an independent for the White House in 2016.
Mattis declining an independent bid for the Oval Office dims the hopes of many conservatives hoping to thwart GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Two confidantes of General Mattis, William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, and GOP strategist, Joel Searby, wrote separate e-mails on behalf of Mattis describing his decision not to seek the White House “after much consideration.”
Mr. Searby wrote: “(Mattis had) decided definitively not to pursue a run for president.”
Mattis was known not to have publicly expressed political ambition prior to the attempt to recruit him as an independent; but in private, the former career military officer had warmed to the idea, meeting with strategists regarding a White House bid as late as last week.
General Mattis, a 44-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, retired in 2013. His final command held was Commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM).
Described by one Marine colleague, Major General Robert Scales, as “one of the most urbane and polished men I have known,“ Mattis commanded the First Marine Division during initial operations in Iraq in 2003.
It is rumored President Obama forced Mattis into retirement for what is believed to be conflicts between the General and the White House.
A veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, Mattis is known for a benevolent stance on the treatment of Iraqi civilians in both campaigns and earning the affection of troops serving under him for a constant presence with front-line troops.
A colorful character, Mattis often exhibited mirth when addressing troops under his command and was known to write letters to entire divisions of troops. One letter read: “Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.”
A expert in counter-insurgency warfare, Mattis was instrumental in the development of a counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since retiring, Mattis has worked in consulting and is an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institute.
[The Hill] [The Washington Free Beacon] [Photo courtesy Daily Caller]