Veteran US diplomat Patterson is not running for a Pentagon job

© Reuters. US Under Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Patterson attends a meeting on Syria with representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in Geneva.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Veteran US diplomat Anne Patterson is out of the running for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, US officials said Tuesday, depriving Defense Secretary Jim Mattis of his choice as top policy adviser.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, officials said Patterson encountered resistance on Capitol Hill that could have made it difficult for him to confirm the U.S. Senate.

The Washington Post first reported that Patterson, who had previously served as America’s top diplomat to the Middle East and as ambassador to Egypt, Pakistan, Colombia and El Salvador, was no longer a candidate.

The newspaper reported that Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, both Republicans and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who reportedly reviewed his candidacy, opposed his selection.

Attendees for both did not respond to requests for comment.

It was not immediately clear whether Patterson also faced opposition from the White House, although a Trump administration official said there has been a tug of war between Mattis and the White House over who should take the top spots in the Pentagon.

“The White House is meeting resistance from Secretary Mattis on almost each and every one of our suggestions of who we would like in the top positions in the Department of Defense,” the official said, saying that “we are basically at a standstill. “but I was hoping this would end soon.

As Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Patterson would have been the Secretary of Defense’s top policy adviser, as well as one of the primary links between the Pentagon and the rest of the US national security apparatus.

It was unclear how soon Mattis could offer an alternative to that or other key high-level positions that, like many in the State Department, remain vacant.

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