President-elect Donald Trump used a rally in North Carolina last night to push Congress to approve Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis as his defense secretary, after announcing earlier in the day that a high-profile Japanese CEO will invest $50 billion in the U.S.

“He’ll get that waiver, right?” Trump asked the crowd in Fayetteville, N.C., referring to the legislative approval Mattis needs as a recently retired military official seeking the civilian defense secretary job.

“Ohh, if he didn’t get that waiver, there’d be a lot of angry people,” the New York billionaire said. “Such a popular choice. I believe we’re in the process of putting together one of the all-time great Cabinets that have ever been assembled in our nation’s history.”

Mattis, a Marine, spoke only briefly, thanking Trump for the nomination and voicing enthusiasm for the job.

Earlier at Trump Tower, the president-elect met with Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of SoftBank of Japan, who then announced he will invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 new jobs.

SoftBank, a telecommunications company headquartered in Tokyo, bought about 80 percent of Sprint in 2013 for $22 billion.

Son is a well-known business maverick in Japan, often taking huge risks where other CEOs fear to tread.

His investment has so far failed to generate a turnaround for Sprint, which remains fourth of the big four cellphone giants, but he also previously placed a $1 billion investment bet on SoFi, an online bank hoping to lead the FinTech revolution.

Son said the $50 billion U.S. investment would come from a global technology investment fund that was announced in October between SoftBank and the Saudis. SoftBank said at the time the fund could stretch to $100 billion, which would make it the largest of its kind ever.

Trump took credit for the development: “Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!” he tweeted.

The president-elect also made headlines yesterday for jabbing at another corporation — Boeing — for what he denounced as the “out of control” costs of the next Air Force One, which he pegged at $4 billion.

“Cancel order!” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s comments initially caused Boeing’s stock price to drop, but it recovered and closed at a small gain.

PolitiFact determined the Air Force One project will cost about $3.73 billion or “within shouting distance” of Trump’s figure.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported yesterday that Trump sold all his shares of stock owned in companies in June, easing some potential conflict of interest concerns he’d face upon being sworn in on Jan. 20.


(c)2016 the Boston Herald

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