Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will LEAVE in February as he tells Trump to find a Pentagon chief who shares his views – just a day after president announced Syria troop pullout over his objections
- Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general, has been Trump’s only defense secretary
- President says he’ll leave in February, ‘retiring with distinction’
- The move comes just a day after Trump announced a military pullout from Syria
- Mattis reportedly objected to the drawdown; ISIS still has 30,000 fighters
- Trump hinted in October that Mattis might leave, calling him ‘sort of a Democrat’
- In a resignation letter, Mattis said he would leave so Trump could have someone in the job who more closely agreed with him
President Donald Trump said Thursday that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will leave the administration in early 2019, but the onetime Marine Corps general is doing it on his own terms – listing the ways he’s incompatible with his commander-in-chief.
‘Because you have the right to a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects,’ Mattis wrote after his litany, ‘I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.’
Trump treated the departure like any other in Washington’s revolving doors.
General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years,’ he tweeted.
‘During Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting equipment. General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations. A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!’
Farewell to arms? Defense Secretary Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, a former U.S. marine Corps general, will step down from his post atop the Pentagon in February
President Donald Trump reportedly overruled Mattis’ objection this week in deciding to withdraw American troops from Syria
Trump made waves at the Pentagon on Wednesday by announcing that he would be pulling America’s mid-size military contingent out of Syria.
The decision, reached Tuesday in a small group meeting at the White House, didn’t include consultation with Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were in the room. Both reportedly objected.
Trump declared this week that his administration has won the war against the ISIS terror army, even though the Pentagon has said the group still has 30,000 soldiers in Iraq and Syria.
The president stunned Washington with his announcement, making it on Twitter instead of in an official statement
Some administration officials are bracing for a possible pullout from Afghanistan next. The U.S. has 14,000 troops stationed there.
According to CNN, no decision has been made but officials are worried Trump might act soon to pull out of a conflict he has long claimed America should never have entered.
The president asked back in 2011, years before he began to flaunt his political ambitions: ‘When will we stop wasting our money on rebuilding Afghanistan? We must rebuild our country first.’
Trump has speculated before about how long Mattis might stay in his Cabinet.
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Asked in October during a ’60 Minutes’ interview whether his Defense Department chief might be on his way out, he responded: ‘Well, I don’t know. He hasn’t told me that.’
‘I have a very good relationship with him. It could be that he is. I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth,’ he said.
‘But General Mattis is a good guy. We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody. People leave. That’s Washington.’
Virginia Demorcatic Sen. Mark Warner tweeted in horror on Thursday: ‘This is scary.’
‘Secretary Mattis has been an island of stability amidst the chaos of the Trump administration. As we’ve seen with the President’s haphazard approach to Syria, our national defense is too important to be subjected to the President’s erratic whims.’
Warner is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
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