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Mattis could receive Congressional Gold Medal under Rep. Newhouse’s proposal

U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis honors the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C, Nov. 28, 2018. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse will introduce legislation Monday to award former Defense Secretary James Mattis the Congressional Gold Medal.

The award has previously been bestowed on George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur and Harry S Truman.

Newhouse announced plans Thursday night to introduce the General James N. Mattis Congressional Gold Medal Act. He was introducing Mattis, who grew up in Richland, at a Washington Policy Center dinner in Spokane.

The congressman said the legislation is supported by Washington’s entire delegation in honor of Mattis’ military and civilian contributions.

Newhouse said Mattis’ name belongs with the nation’s leading heroes.

“I believe James Mattis belongs amongst the giants of American exceptionalism,” Newhouse said in remarks shared by his office.

Mattis was born in Pullman, raised in Richland and attended Central Washington University in Ellensburg before starting a stellar military career.

He commanded the U.S. Joint Forces Command, NATO’s Supreme Allied Command for Transformation, U.S. Central Command and the Department of Defense.

President Donald Trump made Mattis his Secretary of Defense shortly after the 2016 election.

Mattis served in that capacity until he notified the president a year ago of his plan to step down, saying Trump deserved a secretary whose views better aligned with his own.

In January, President Trump said he had “essentially” fired Mattis because he was dissatisfied with his performance.

Mattis later returned to the Hoover Institution at Stanford University as the Davies Family Distinguished Fellow. The think tank was his professional home after he retired from the Marines until he was nominated to the top defense post.

Mattis made several appearances in Tri-Cities this week, including speaking at a lunch for veterans.

He also speaks Friday evening at a welcome home event for Vietnam veterans in Kennewick. The event is sold out.


© 2019 Tri-City Herald