No matter how many times retired Marine Gen. James Mattis says he is not running for president, people still hope the legendary former commander jumps into the race.
Most recently, a group of wealthy conservatives is looking to have Mattis run as a third-party candidate if Donald Trump secures the Republican Party's nomination, according to The Daily Beast. Their hope is that no candidate wins enough electoral votes, forcing the House of Representatives to select the next president.
"Trump is a fascist lunatic and Hillary [Clinton] has one foot in a jail cell," John Noonan, a former aide to Jeb Bush who is now advocating for Mattis to run, told The Daily Beast. "That means the lunatic can win. I'd be first in line to plead with the general to come save America."
The Republican National Convention will be held from July 18 to July 21 in Cleveland. The Democratic National Convention will be held from July 25 to July 28 in Philadelphia.
This is not the first time people have tried to draft Mattis to run for president. In 2012, a Marine veteran started a Facebook campaign to get voters to write Mattis' name on their ballots. Facing calls to run again, Mattis told Marine Corps Times last year that he was not interested.
"[It's] time for younger people, especially veterans, to run for office," he said in July.
While many most American voters may not be are not familiar with Mattis, he is a near deity with service members — especially Marines.
Mattis served as head of U.S. Central Command from 2010 to 2013, during which his call sign was "chaos." Prior to that, he oversaw the deployment of more than 1,000 Marines to Afghanistan in November 2001 — the deepest insertion of Marines into a combat zone at the time in U.S. history.
Gen. Mattis is revered by U.S. service members.
Photo Credit: Facebook.
As commander of the 1st Marine Division during the invasion of Iraq, Mattis sent a letter to his Marines telling them to show the world that, "There is 'No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy' than a U.S. Marine."
An early proponent of what became the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, Mattis told his Marines to respect the Iraqis while never letting their guard down. He would later help write the Army's counterinsurgency manual with Army Gen. David Petraeus.
Throughout his entire career, it was clear that Mattis loved his Marines. Author Tom Ricks wrote in his book "Fiasco" that when Mattis met with Iraqi military leaders in 2003, he warned them: "I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f--k with me, I'll kill you all."
Despite his colorful and sometimes brash statements, Mattis is known as a devoted scholar. His message to a colleague in November 2003 about the importance of reading military history went viral.
Mattis wrote that he had never been "caught flat-footed" in any situation thanks to his reading, which "doesn't give me the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead."
"Alex the Great would not be in the least bit perplexed by the enemy that we face right now in Iraq, and our leaders going into this fight do their troops a disservice by not studying (studying, vice just reading) the men who have gone before us," Mattis wrote.
Mattis declined to comment on Friday.