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James Mattis Denies Interest in Running For President: How Can I ‘Say No Even Stronger’

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis vehemently denied any interest in running for president in the future during a Tuesday appearance on Fox News

“A lot of people want you to run for president, what do you say to that?” Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked the former Trump administration official.

“I think we have a lot of great people in America I think that 40 odd years of serving the country in the military and in the defense establishment I am eager to see the fresh ideas on people who handle a much broader array of issues than I have,” Mattis replied, to which the host asked if that meant he’s a “no” for the job.

“Well, that’s a no,” he added.

“A little hesitation,” MacCallum shot back.

“There is not a hesitation. I’m just trying to think how to say no even stronger,” Mattis said.

Rumors have circulated over the past year about Mattis running for president and his supporters forming an exploratory committee for such a run, but the Pentagon literally laughed off the proposition.

“We got quite a laugh out of it in our morning meeting. It’s pure fiction — plain and simple,” Pentagon flack Dana White said in a statement shooting down the rumors.

Earlier in the Fox News interview, Mattis was asked about Trump cancelling $3.6 million in Pentagon projects to fund the president’s proposed border wall dividing the U.S. and Mexico.

“I don’t comment on the current policies,” he responded. “I don’t think someone should get out of office and then start talking from the outside — what I refer to as the cheap seats. I will say that it’s a very political issue and I think that working with Congress in order to find a way to address this is the right thing to do. I just hope we can find a solution that gains support in the country.”

Watch above, via Fox News.

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Caleb Ecarma is a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: caleb@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma