Give President-elect Joe Biden credit for preparing to name David Norquist as his acting Defense Secretary as long as his own nominee, Lloyd Austin, is mired in confirmation controversy.
Norquist, who has been President Trump’s deputy defense secretary since 2019, will oversee the department’s day-to-day operations until Austin or another nominee arrives. Norquist, the younger brother of conservative activist Grover Norquist, previously served as the DOD’s comptroller and oversaw its first-ever audit.
Biden’s nominee, Lloyd Austin, is a former general who must receive a waiver from both houses of Congress to become the next defense secretary. He retired from the military in 2016, short of the seven years required by law before a former officer can take over at the Pentagon.
Some House Democrats are so upset by Biden’s decision to temporarily name Norquist that they want to bypass a hearing and committee votes for General Austin. Under their plan, the proposal to give Austin a waiver would also skip a committee vote and go straight to a floor vote.
I don’t have an opinion on whether the Austin waiver is appropriate, but I hope Joe Biden doesn’t bow to pressure from the left to change his mind about Norquist, a consummate professional, merely because Norquist served in the Trump administration.
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