President Donald Trump plans to nominate retired Army brigadier general, author and Fox News regular Anthony Tata to be the Pentagon’s policy chief, the White House announced on Wednesday.
Tata would succeed John Rood, who was ousted as undersecretary for policy in February after being viewed as insufficiently loyal to Trump. The post has been filled on an acting basis by James Anderson.
Trump settled on Tata in April. He beat out another retired Army officer, Douglas Macgregor, for the post.
If confirmed by the Senate, Tata would take over the Pentagon’s policy shop at a turbulent time for Pentagon. The military has been wracked by both the coronavirus pandemic and is also grappling with racial issues amid nationwide protests. Defense Secretary Mark Esper also clashed with Trump over whether to deploy active-duty troops to intervene in the protests.
Tata, meanwhile, is a major Trump defender and is the author of the “Threat” war novel series.
Tata served as North Carolina transportation secretary from 2013 to 2015 under Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. Tata also weighed a bid for Congress.
His confirmation process could get messy on Capitol Hill. His defense of Trump on Fox, including backing up Trump’s actions at the border and the firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer last fall over the handling of former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s war crimes case is unlikely to endear him to Democrats.
Tata also retired from the Army in 2008 after a probe found he had been having affairs with “at least two” women, the North Carolina-based News & Observer reported.
Time may not be on Tata’s side either.
The Senate’s calendar, already shortened in the election year, has been further truncated by the pandemic, which kept lawmakers away from the nation’s capital for months.
Though the Senate Armed Services Committee last month quickly confirmed Kenneth Braithwaite, Trump’s nominee for Navy secretary, the panel is expected to hold off on hearings in the comings weeks as senators instead focus on passing the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
Daniel Lippman and Lara Seligman contributed to this report.