Trump considers Democrat Jim Webb as Defense Secretary

Former Navy Secretary takes tough line on China

Former U.S. Navy Secretary Jim Webb.

Former U.S. Navy Secretary Jim Webb. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Former Democratic Senator Jim Webb, who served as secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan, is being considered as President Donald Trump’s next Defense Secretary, the New York Times reported Thursday.

After Secretary Jim Mattis left the Pentagon amid opposition to the president’s plans to pull troops out of Syria and Afghanistan, former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan took over but only in an acting capacity.

During a run in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, Webb took an aggressive tone against China, the New York Times reported. He described China as “the greatest strategic threat” and condemned its behavior in the South China Sea and its role in cyberattacks.

Webb, 72, fought in Vietnam and later wrote an article which opposed allowing women in combat roles, though he reportedly changed his views. He also wrote novels and movie scripts with military themes.

Webb was an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War, and together with his views on China, that might be the reason why his name was circulating at the White House, reports said.