President-elect Donald Trump is very interested in the idea of having retired Marine Gen. James Mattis serve in his administration and he can be considered a leading candidate for secretary of defense, an official familiar with the transition process told CNN Saturday.
The two men met for a little over an hour in Bedminster, New Jersey, Saturday afternoon, which the source characterized as a very important meeting.
The source cautioned that it's not a done deal but said Trump has been extremely impressed with Mattis' resume and what he's heard about him from others and at this stage is leaning in that direction.
Asked by reporters if Trump would choose Mattis to lead the Defense Department, Trump said, "All I can say is he is the real deal. He is the real deal."