An anonymous group of "conservative billionaires" reportedly is trying to convince retired U.S. Marine Corp. Gen. James Mattis to run for president as a third-party candidate, if Donald Trump secures the GOP nomination. Mattis retired on May 22, 2013, after 44 years of military service.
Mattis, 65, developed a reputation among troops as a general officer who cares about the little guy, The Daily Beast reports. This reputation blossomed into the political realm during the 2012 presidential contest, when a Marine Corps veteran started an online campaign to write-in Mattis on presidential ballots; the campaign ultimately lacked the backing to take off.
"Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit," Mattis once wrote in a 1st Marine Division letter.
At the request of these dozen billionaires, The Daily Beast reported a small group of political operatives recently took the first steps in the strategic legwork needed for a bid: a package of six strategic memos outlining how Mattis could win the race, in hopes of coaxing him in.
The general has received the package of memos, according to two individuals involved with the project.
"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," John Noonan, a former Jeb Bush aide now involved in the project to draft Mattis, told The Daily Beast.
Noonan said 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. But I'd be first in line to plead with the general to come save America."
The group pondering this scenario reportedly hope Mattis would a consensus choice, rather than the outright winner.
The game plan would be for Mattis to win enough states to keep Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton from getting the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, reports the Washington Examiner. The House of Representatives then would select the next president, and supporters believe lawmakers would support a former general widely seen as an American hero.
A "Gen. James Mattis for President 2016" unofficial Facebook page has more than 6,100 likes at the time this article was published.
Mattis also is known for implementing the COIN strategy. Before President Barack Obama appointed him to replace David Petraeus on August 11, 2010, he previously commanded U. S. Joint Forces Command from November 9, 2007, to August 2010 and served concurrently as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from November 9, 2007, to September 8, 2009. Prior to that, he commanded I Marine Expeditionary Force, United States Marine Forces Central Command, and 1st Marine Division during the Iraq War.
Since retirement, Mattis has worked for FWA Consultants and is an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He also serves as a member of the General Dynamics Board of Directors. He is a board member of Theranos, a Silicon Valley biotech company.
Mattis was born in Pullnam, Wash. He has never been married and has no children; he's known for devoting his life to studying and fighting war.