Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis said Friday at an event in Washington, D.C. he is not considering a run for president, disappointing his supporters, like political consultants Rick Wilson and John Noonan, who were counting on him to present a challenge to Donald Trump.
Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mattis dismissed the idea of a run outright and said he hadn’t even given any thought to the notion.
“No, I haven’t given any thought to [it],” Mattis said, Military.com reports.
Mattis further stated after his discussion on Iranian aggression that he was utterly puzzled at the idea he might present a challenge to current contenders in the 2016 presidential race.
“It’s been going on for 15 months,” Mattis said. “Since coming back from overseas, this is more of a foreign country than the places overseas. I don’t understand it. It’s like America has lost faith in rational thought.”
He declined to give his thoughts on any of the candidates currently in the run, saying his time in the military made him used to forgoing partisan behavior.
Despite his stated commitment to non-partisanship, Mattis couldn’t help but get in a few jabs at President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Referring to Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview with Obama, Mattis said Obama’s responses sounded awfully like GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
“It wasn’t Trump; it was the president saying that our allies are free riders and that sort of thing,” Mattis said. “For a sitting U.S. president to see our allies as freeloaders is nuts.”
During the event, Mattis also declared Iran the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Middle East.
The plan to push Mattis into the White House would entail a third-party run in order to block former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Trump from achieving 270 votes from the Electoral College. This would then trigger a forced decision from the House, which would select the next president. Those supporting Mattis hope the House would pick him by a landslide over Clinton or Trump.
This report, by Jonah Bennett, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.