When James Mattis served in the United States Marines Corps he earned the nickname the “warrior monk.”
Before he retired in 2013, Mattis had commanded Marines in combat missions in Iraq in both wars and in Afghanistan. As part of his 42-year career with the Marines, he also served as commander of the U.S. Central Command, U.S. Joint Forces Command, and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.
He was a straight talking warrior’s warrior who was also a scholar who’d carry with him — among other works — a copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor (161 to 180 A.D.). He was, and is, a big admirer of the writings of ancient Chinese general Sun-tzu who composed The Art of War.
Summed up: Mattis is an intellectual bachelor who has admitted to a love of brawling while espousing old-fashioned values.
Now the former four-star general has a group of anonymous conservative billionaires trying to convince him to run as a third party presidential candidate against the expected two final runners — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, reports The Daily Beast.
At the request of the rich donors, a team of seasoned republican political operatives have come up with a strategy to get Mattis into the White House.
I’d vote for Mattis. https://t.co/oeLdUzh33u
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) April 4, 2016
“Everyone is hoping that Ted Cruz pulls it out, but I think a great deal of Republicans would rally behind an American hero if the choice is between Mattis and Trump,” said John Noonan, a former Jeb Bush aide, reported The Daily Beast.
Noonan is one of the operatives trying to draft Mattis to run if Trump is nominated by the GOP for the presidential race in Cleveland, July 18.
“[Mattis is] a man of character and integrity. He’s given his life to his country. How do you ask someone like that to leap headfirst into this toxic mud puddle of a race? It’s damn hard,” said Noonan who then went on to say some not so flattering descriptions of Trump or Clinton.
“I’d be first in line to plead with the general to come save America,” Noonan added.
The team has given this strategy to the 65-year-old Mattis for consideration, reports The Daily Beast.
However, if Mattis did run, the likelihood that he’d win an outright victory is low. The strategy put together by the team would seek to deny an outright victory either to Trump or Clinton.
Having Mattis in the White House would be possible, they say, if he could win a number of states won by President Barack Obama in the last election. Then they believe it is conceivable that Clinton could be blocked from taking the White House.
This would leave the House of Representatives to decide who the president would be and with the House split, the team of strategists claim that Mattis would then be the consensus choice.
“The theme of 2016 is ‘all bets are off’ and this is a cycle where the unexpected has become the defining characteristic of this election,” said strategist Rick Wilson, who is part of the effort to get Mattis to run.
“In a moment when American politics on the left and right has been upended, and where the frontrunners of both parties are compromised, the time may be upon us where a uniquely qualified, and uniquely credible third-party alternative like General Mattis can take the stage,” Wilson told The Daily Beast.
But before this plan could even be enacted Mattis needs to be onboard with the idea of being POTUS, and thus far he has been unenthusiastic.
During a speech at a college last year, Mattis said someone younger would be better suited to running for the presidency according to the Marine Corp Times, and he labeled himself the straight-talking politically incorrect type of leader probably not best suited to the Oval Office.
Nonetheless in a more recent article with The Daily Caller he ruled out giving an answer on whether he would run, leaving open the possibility.
Given this, the tacticians and their billionaire donors are hoping the retired general will change his mind.
But according those close to Mattis, they are skeptical this will transpire.
“It is difficult — if not impossible — to see him accepting being drafted,” said a source close to Mattis, according to The Daily Beast.
Currently Mattis is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, a policy think tank and research institution at Stanford University.
Watch Mattis offer insights into the nature of war in this video by the Hoover Institution: