WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s first action as Commander-in-Chief was a practical one: clearing the way for James Mattis to serve as his secretary of defense.
The retired U.S. Marine Corps general needed a waiver to serve in the Cabinet due to rules designed to maintain civilian control of the military. Both chambers of Congress voted to give him a one-time exception waiver last week. Now Trump, within 90 minutes of being sworn-in, has signed that legislation.
The Senate is expected to vote to confirm Mattis and retired Gen. John Kelly as homeland security secretary later this afternoon.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump will also soon take two other official actions: formally sending his Cabinet nominations to the U.S. Senate and calling for a national day of patriotism.
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