Last Updated on January 18, 2024
Mattis’s camp disputes the reports. The sentiment squares, however, with comments Mattis made on the record. Mattis denounced Trump, calling Trump “the greatest threat to American democracy in over 50 years,” according to The Bulwark.
Former Defense Secretary General James Mattis and some White House employees were directly aware of and monitoring a team working to launch a Mattis Republican primary campaign against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, according to documents obtained by Big League Politics and statements from the organizers who put the team together.
“My job was to see what his pathway to the White House would look like,” Travis Snyder told Big League Politics in a series of interviews, referring to General Mattis. “There was a very small team.”
Snyder, a twenty-five year-old Indiana-based political consultant whom insiders say is close to Vice President Mike Pence, ran point on the operation, which Mattis and others were keeping track of.
Snyder also confirmed that the group polled Mike Pence’s chances to run against Trump, and found that Pence had no chance.
“I oversaw early states polling, putting together possible running mates,” Snyder said.
“I did not work with the fundraising team. I solely looked at what his path to the nomination would look like, and then his pathway to the White House,” Snyder said, declining to name the donors to the effort or the main person organizing it.
Running mate prospects included Nikki Haley and Dan Crenshaw.
“Nikki Haley was polled. Jackie Walorski, Mitch Daniels. There were regional smaller named people like Staff Sergeant Johnny Joe Jones” but Jones did not have the name ID, Snyder said.
“Dan Crenshaw was polled as a VP nominee in the event that Mattis” ran, Snyder said.
“General Mattis was aware of the effort,” Snyder confirmed. “He knew of the team, who exactly brought the team together.”
“There are people who currently serve in the White House who knew that the team was coming together,” Snyder said, noting that “This group is no longer active.”
Snyder tried to put together a team of consultants to assist in the effort.
Alex Rountree, a conservative consultant, was approached about being part of the team, but wanted nothing to do with it. Rountree identifies Snyder as being “good family friends with Pence” and being an adviser to Jackie Walorski, the congresswoman in Pence’s old district.
Rountree signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Travis Snyder regarding the effort. The NDA is now expired. Rountree never had any intention of helping Snyder, only in exposing the establishment plot to betray President Trump.
Rountree took copious notes on his conversations with Snyder:
When Rountree talked to Snyder, Snyder made it appear that Pence was supportive of the primary challenge to Trump.
“He was fluffing around a little bit about Pence, saying, ‘Pence wouldn’t be upset if Mattis ran.’ Somebody who knew the President’s every move all the time was working with Mattis: that turned out to be (John) Kelly,” Rountree told Big League Politics.
“They were hoping for Nikki Haley on the ticket,” Rountree said, stating that Snyder was trying to put together “15 consultants or operatives in 15 different states.”
“He (Snyder) said he had a polling firm that just signed an NDA that worked for the Cruz campaign,” Rountree said. KellyAnne Conway’s The Polling Company served as Ted Cruz’s pollster during the 2016 election. Snyder did not deny KellyAnne Conway’s possible involvement, considering Conway’s The Polling Company was Ted Cruz’s 2016 pollster.
Snyder kicked off his Mattis whisper campaign by planting an article with Andrew Feinberg, who wrote an August 2018 piece for Beltway Breakfast headlined, “Defense Secretary Mattis Weighing 2020 Bid, Predicts He’d ‘Kick Trump’s Ass.’”
Snyder told Rountree that the Mattis team had representatives in Arizona, Michigan, Virginia and Florida.
Derek Utley of X Strategies was also contacted about being part of the Mattis campaign.
“My firm is regularly contacted by candidates who are seeking to run for public office. Because a non-disclosure agreement was signed prior to my firm receiving information about this candidate who was seeking to run for public office, I can neither confirm nor deny who the candidate was. I will say however, my firm will automatically decline any candidate who is seeking to primary President Donald J. Trump,” Utley told Big League Politics.
Mattis resigned from his position as Defense Secretary, with President Donald Trump maintaining that Mattis was fired.