The people are crying out for U.S. soccer star and World Cup phenomenon Tim Howard to be the next U.S. secretary of defense, and who is President Obama to stand in their way?
In his weekly address on Friday, the president congratulated the U.S. men's national soccer team for their heroic effort in the World Cup, and he joked about the growing online pleas for him to make Howard, the team's goalkeeper, the next head of the Pentagon.
"I know there's actually a petition on the White House website to make Tim Howard the next Secretary of Defense," Mr. Obama said. "Chuck Hagel's got that spot right now, but if there is a vacancy, I promise to think about it."
The petition, which has thus far received 1,117 signatures, commends Howard for his "acts of valor and general badassery during the 2014 World Cup," and it urges Mr. Obama to name Howard his next defense chief.
Another petition calls for Washington National Airport, currently named after former President Ronald Reagan, to be renamed the "Tim Howard National Airport." That petition has garnered over 16,000 signatures thus far. In order for the White House to issue an official response, petitions must receive more than 100,000 signatures.
The U.S. men's team was knocked out of the World Cup by Belgium on Wednesday. It was a disappointing finish for the team, but Howard emerged as the star of the game, making a valiant attempt to save his team from elimination with a World Cup-record 16 saves.
The strong performance lit up the sports world, with Howard's Wikipedia page briefly dubbing him the "Secretary of Defense of the United States of America."
The man who actually holds that job, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, called Howard after the game to congratulate him on a job well done.
"Secretary Hagel congratulated Howard on his record-breaking game and a great run in Brazil," explained a statement from Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon's press secretary. "He invited Howard and the entire team to come to the Pentagon later this year. He told Howard that with some training, he could someday become the real secretary of defense."