Kevin Sweeney, Mattis’ chief of staff, kept the Cotton staffers waiting and declined to invite them into his office, instead meeting with them briefly in an anteroom. He showed only a heavily redacted staff list and spent the meeting “barking” at the staffers before “storming out,” according to one national security source.
When [Vice President] Pence called Cotton days later, the senator relayed details from the meeting and signaled that he remained uneasy with Patterson’s nomination. “Had that meeting gone better, the vice president would have gotten a different message,” the national security source said. “Sweeney did more to sink Patterson than the Muslim Brotherhood did.” (Sweeney did not respond to requests for comment.) . . . .
“Everybody thinks very highly of him, but he doesn’t have any political sense, and he doesn’t think he needs any political sense,” said one former Bush administration Defense Department official. “But it’s quintessentially a political job.”