Home » Budget Industry » Trump: Mattis Will Step Down on Jan. 1; Shanahan to Serve as Acting SECDEF

Trump: Mattis Will Step Down on Jan. 1; Shanahan to Serve as Acting SECDEF

U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis meets with Lithuania’s Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 28, 2018. DoD Photo

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will hand over leadership of the Pentagon two months earlier than originally announced, President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Sunday.

On Jan.1, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will serve as the acting defense secretary until the White House finds and the Senate confirms a replacement for the position.

“Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while service as Deputy, & previously Boeing,” Trump wrote. “He will be great!”

Mattis had originally set a Feb. 28 departure date in his resignation letter, “to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed Mattis of the accelerated exit on Sunday morning shortly before the president sent the tweet.

Now, under Trump’s timeline, former Boeing executive Shanahan will oversee an anticipated early February submission of the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request and the subsequent posture hearings before the House and Senate defense committees.

In a Sunday statement, chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said, “[Secretary] Mattis will work with Deputy Shanahan and department leadership to ensure the [DoD] remains focused on the defense of the nation during this transition.”

Mattis’ resignation letter came after the administration decided to pull the 2,000 U.S. ground troops from Syria and significantly draw down U.S. in Afghanistan – moves Mattis opposed.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” he wrote in his letter.

Mattis spent much of his two years leading the department tending to the U.S. network of allies while moving the military to a posture of great power competition with China and Russia. In his resignation, Mattis stressed the importance of U.S. alliances.

“We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances,” Mattis wrote.

In a Saturday tweet, following Mattis’ Thursday resignation, Trump wrote, “Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S.”

  • Ron Snyder

    My impression is that Mattis was not supportive of Trump’s forcing NATO and other U.S. allies to pay their fair share of the financial burden of the military costs.

    • joe

      well… that, and the whole “mid-east drawdown”

      I have to agree with Trump on this 1; US recruited Kurdish militia and backed them with an air campaign that has either completely cleared out or consolidated Daesh into 1 or 2 pockets. Just about any modern militia should be able to go in there and mop-up. Erdogan said he will take the responsibility.

      only problem is everybody thinks we should continue backing the Kurds. For what? ALL-OUT WAR with Turkey? Trump said no more wars there and US would start a brand new one if we remain the proxy of SDF. thanks for your war on terror SDF! Keep the weapons & At Tanf, we are OUT!
      we went there for terrorists, not to help the Kurds cleave out half of Syria for themselves. If it played out that Kurds became powerful enough to overthrow Assad and his Iran proxies, that was icing on the cake but we are going to war with Russia on our terms, some other time & some other place. Turkey is a longtime NATO ally; we aren’t fighting against them to back the Kurdish who we used for a couple of years.
      Plus, we absolutely have to remain on good terms with Turkey in order to access the Black Sea: Turkey has the authority to approve or deny access the Black Sea via the straight smack in the middle of their country and that is of much more value than anything in Syria.
      the fact remains SDF is comprised of YPG hardliners that have been terrorizing Turkey for 30-years and US has to draw the line.

      • Ron Snyder

        I have no faith in Turkey as they move down the radical islamic path. Kurds should follow the Israeli example and have all their people in one place- Iraq IMO.

        • PolicyWonk

          Well, having little faith in Erdogan (and Turkey) since he’s thoroughly divorced himself from Attaturk’s solid, and pragmatic foundation, your pessimism is justified.

        • Michael Hoskins, Privileged

          Do not forget that Kurds are Islam. They harbor extremist in their mix and support Sharia. They are not as cohesive as the Israelis.

          Twould be nice to have a real Kurdistan though.

          • Ron Snyder

            I remember. The few friends I have that served in Iraq said that the only time they felt safe was in Kurdish controlled areas.

      • Centaurus

        Unless Turkey wants to suffer an untimely demise, it will do no such thing as to deny access to the Black Sea. It’s called freedom of navigation. Ring a bell ? As long as we’re being armchair strategists, we also have 150 or so gravity bombs of the nuclear sort parked at Incirlik airbase which aren’t so safe as long as Turkey is being led by a fascist dink-a-donk like Erdowan. Any other bright ideas ? Merry xmas.

      • Ron Snyder

        How many nukes/MOABs would it take to widen the isthmus into the Black Sea. Or take it over if required?

    • Centaurus

      Well, now we have an ex-Boeing Executive in charge (or taking charge), with no foreign policy experience (well, maybe some for Boeing foreign contracts), a Masters in ME and perhaps a whole lot of conflicts of interest.
      So where to now, boss ?
      It looks like POTUS will be addressing the war on terror in his mind, as all the the little monsters from his past creep back into his life.
      What a sh*t-show.

      • Ron Snyder

        SecDef needs to be a CEO, not a military mastermind. His staff will be critical.

        • grandpabluewater

          Worked just great with McNamara, what could go wrong?

          • Ron Snyder

            CEO Type would be a better description. Worked just great with George Marshall- one of the best men to ever serve America. McN- I hope he is roasting somewhere very warm. His crybaby final book tour was embarrassing and totally ineffective.

      • MDK187

        The role of the Sec.Def. is NOT foreign policy. That’s just the misconception that Mattis was suffering from.

        • Duane

          Defense is foreign policy – our Constitution does not allow our military to be involved in domestic law enforcement … the sole purpose of defense is to deal with foreign powers.

          Mattis correctly saw that trashing all of our allies, as Trump did from the get go, is the best way to harm our national defense.

          Trump is a clueless, bumbling, traitorous idiot who cares more to protect Russia, who got him elected illegally and has been his major source of income since the US banks stop lending him money many years ago, than to protect America and the Constitution to which he is sworn to protect.

          • MDK187

            You’re about as capable of separating distinct concepts as the average autist. Or Mattis.

          • MaskOfZero

            What a ridiculous opinion you have.

            No analysis, only name-calling and hate.


          • MLepay

            Hmm you just described POTUS…so it seems are you saying Duane is actually DJT using a fake userid??!!! 😉

          • Chesapeakeguy

            Trump is correctly holding those supposed, alleged ‘allies’ you babble on about to their WORD when it comes to their own defense. That you and your fellow Democrats are OK with this country continuing to be played for chumps by Europe and NATO is just more of the same business as usual garbage we can expect from that swamp in Washington, DC. Trump obviously felt Mattis was failing on that, and relieved him. The days of ‘leading from behind’ and flat out bending over are over. You Democrats can whine about that, but oh well.

        • PolicyWonk

          The role of Sec Def is to work hand-in-hand with the DoS to ensure congruence/coordination across the board: DoS deals with the civilian end; the Sec Def the military end.

          No misconception on Mattis’ part whatsoever.

          • ShermansWar

            The hubris involved there…….His policies and positions are set by the president, not state, and not whatever he and state decide is best. This is why Trump got elected, to put a stop to this.

          • PolicyWonk

            Trump wasn’t elected to shirk the constitution or the nations laws, weaken our alliances, pander to Russians or dictators, or give our allies secrets to proven enemies.

            He was elected to do a mediocre job, and he’s obviously a miserable failure.

          • old guy

            I would like FACTS to support your contention of,”Mediocre job and miserable failure”

          • PolicyWonk

            I’ll offer you a selection of them, not in any particular order.

            1. N. Korean “summit”. Trump was too lazy to either study or get coached prior to engaging with a well-prepared Kim Jong Un and team. The rambling press conference following that mess would’ve been enough to get Obama impeached before AF1 was wheels down in US territory.
            2. Tossing our allies, friends, and NATO partners, and all 17 US intelligence agencies under the bus instead favoring to side with communist and former KGB agent Putin.
            3. Syria. Impulsively deciding to pull out without even bothering to discuss it with our allies, the DoS, the DoD, or even his staff, ceding the region to Iran (a big fat gift) and Russia.
            4. Attacks on the US constitution, free speech, rule of law, obstructions of justice, and blatant abuses of power.
            5. Abuses of Gold Start families (picking fights with those who are not your political opponents is frankly stupid).
            6. Laziness, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, failing to learn the job, or even about legislation (etc.) he supposedly supports (this according to the GOP leadership, our allies, friends, and partners – let alone the democrats).
            7. First POTUS to run an openly racist administration that can’t get itself to say “nazis are bad”.
            8. Violations of the emoluments clause of the US constitution.
            9. Over 7000 lies told to the American people since taking office, now up to 15 lies/day.
            10. Concentration camps for children.
            11. Puerto Rico in the wake of Maria (inaction of the part of administration), the death toll is over 3000, exceeding that of Katrina. This is the result of either pure racism or incompetence: your pick.
            12. Leaving Iran nuclear agreement with ZERO replacement, strategy, and/or plan to replace it.
            13. Remember Trump’s “big, beautiful, health plan that’s cheaper and better than Obamacare”? Didn’t exist.
            14. Leaving the TPP with zero plan to replace it – only to realize it was a mistake, tried getting back in, only to be told to “pound sand” by our allies.
            15. Diplomatic failure: near-total isolation of “odd man out” Trump in virtually all matters of importance (except in defense) from all allies and friends.
            16. ZERO negotiation skills. Did you watch Trump with Pelosi and Schumer? Gave them everything they wanted, took away the GOP’s thunder, accepted blame for the shutdown, and got NOTHING in return.
            17. MBS and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi
            18. Openly racist comments w/r/t Mexican citizens
            19. Disparaging of POW’s
            20. Accusing US soldiers of embezzling cash to pay off Afghan and Iraqi officials (Oct, 2015)
            21. The much-avowed love of Putin and other dictators/despots around the globe
            22. Phony tax reform, and spending like a drunken Kennedy, with the Fed admitting an additional $2T in debt since Trump took office.
            23. Affection for David Duke
            24. Suggesting its a good idea to arm S. Korea, and Japan, etc., with nukes.
            25. Accusing Obama and DoJ of tapping his campaign phones, causing the GOP and Democratic leadership, the NSA, DoJ, and FBI, to all get together on national TV to call him a liar.
            26. Mishandling/misuse of US military for political purposes
            27. Trade war with China – incompetence at its finest – especially since he needs them to help with N. Korea, and now they won’t help.
            28. Use of unsecured cell phone (ironic after claiming Clinton was loose with security).
            29. Ivanka using personal email for official business (ironic given the Clinton email mess).
            30. DoJ says Trump knowingly committed multiple crimes/felonies to subvert the US electoral system
            31. No consideration of domestic impact of China trade war/tariffs
            32. The large majority of the department heads of his administration are being investigated for crimes, unethical actions, and wasting taxpayer funds.
            33. Trump University
            34. Fraudulent/systematic avoidance of payment of income taxes
            35. Constant lies about connections of his election campaign to Russia
            36. Constant attacks against Special investigator
            37. Giving sworn enemies our allies “code word” level secrets
            38. Failure to understand that foreign policy isn’t transactional: Trade, diplomacy, military cooperation, etc., are all linked together – to every other leader on the planet, except Trump
            39. Our allies, friends, and NATO partners all have to “dumb down” their presentations/discussions for Trump, because he cannot process difficult topics.
            40. The latest Presidential Ranking Study ranks Trump at 44th, making him the worst POTUS in history (even according to the conservatives involved)
            41. Overcharging US government for office space, etc., and requiring use of Trump properties for administration events.

            Merely a sampling. Any number of which would’ve earned Obama an impeachment.


      • RobM1981

        Yeah, I don’t like the Boeing connection, either. OTOH, at this point, what candidate ISN’T part of the swamp? Every flag-ranked officer, every suitable former-executive, etc. All of them have been “dealing” with the vendor for years now. And I deliberately didn’t make that “vendors.” We are down to so few providers, they have near monopoly power over the defense market.

        Ike was right.

    • Duane

      You don’t “force” your allies to do anything … that’s not what allies do.

      The allies have always paid for their own defense .. it is a stupid fallacy that the US pays for defending Europe. The Europeans have dozens of times more of their own troops based in Europe – more than three and a half million – than does the USA.

      • Ron Snyder

        Europe has not paid their own way since the 40’s- but what do you know of the truth. Of course Europeans have more troops in Europe- it is friggin Europe. The ONLY reason that either Russian or German is not spoken throughout Europe is because we saved them- again.

        • Duane

          Bull. Again, show your facts, not your uninformed non-reality-based opinions.

          Non-US NATO members have over 3.5 million military members based in Europe. The US has fewer than 150,000 members in Europe, and about half of those are focused not on Europe but on the middle east and Africa operations against the jihadis. Our most active war theater is in Afghanistan, where over 40% of the soldiers based there today are non-US NATO members.

          The only time in the history of NATO that Article 5, the mutual-defense rule, was invoked was in Afghanistan, where NATO came to the aid of the US after 9.11.01. Not the other way around. NATO has been in Afghanistan just as long as the US has been there.

          Clearly the Europeans are paying their own way, and the US is paying our own way.

      • Your 3.5m number is wrong – it is closer to 1.8m. While that is still larger than the number of US troops in Europe, that is a pointless comparison. First, it’s not like all the other US troops around the world wouldn’t be sent to Europe in the event of a war. Second, Europe is 100% reliant on the US to provide critical capabilities. Third, the primary factor in Europe’s security is the US nuclear arsenal.

      • MaskOfZero

        You are deluded or deliberately ignorant of the facts.

        I suspect political motives outweigh the truth for you–which means you are a Democrat.

    • PolicyWonk

      Seems a bit of a stretch w/r/t this topic. Mattis didn’t agree with that “policy” such as it is (and worked hard on the side to assure our allies), but that clearly isn’t what caused him to resign.

    • Tobster

      So let’s see: when the Russian 1st Guards Tank Army comes pouring through the Fulda Gap DJT will say to NATO “love to help but you have some past due invoices”?
      Make no mistake, it is this “transactional” approach to foreign policy that drove SecDef Mattis from the White House.

      • Ron Snyder

        Your mind reading in knowing why Mattis left, vs taking Mattis at his word, is remarkable. Poland will be surprised to find Russian tanks rolling on their way to Germany- would not have the element of surprise to NATO/Germany. But hey, you are the wizard.

  • NavySubNuke

    The fact Trump is forcing us to abandon the Kurds to please despots like Erdogan and Putin and against the best interests of the United States really is a bridge too far. I cam understand Mattis finally having enough and resigning.
    ISIS rose to power after Obama abandoned Iraq prematurely out of arrogance. Hopefully Trump’s arrogance and worship of despots doesn’t leave us in a similar place.
    Thanks for your service General. You held the ship together despite the antics of the spoiled child in the oval office and for that I am grateful.

    • joe

      don’t forget Obama himself fired Mattis in ‘15 as most saw him way too hawkish on foreign policy. America FIRST now.

      • Duane

        No – “Russia first” now, by Trump.

        • joe

          keep your friends close, and enemies closer … as they say.
          you don’t know what POTUS motives are.

      • PolicyWonk

        But what you forget, is that Mattis came to support the Iran nuclear deal. Obama at least had a plan and a strategy to make it happen, and it worked.

        Trump clearly has no strategy whatsoever. He makes decisions sans any education on a given topic, which has damaged this nation’s international reputation. Putin is happily giving speeches regarding the USA’s near-instantaneous demise of global, political, and moral leadership – which wouldn’t be so bad IF the rest of the planet didn’t agree.

        The military is reported to be thoroughly demoralized, and its hard to blame them.

        • Michael Hoskins, Privileged

          “The military is reported to be thoroughly demoralized…”. This is largely a military forum. Most of us are active or retired military, witnesses close contacts still in place. We have a good handle on morale. Any lack of morale that I see has nothing to do with POTUS or SecDef, but with congressional budgeting machinations.

          • PolicyWonk

            I am aware of what type of forum this is – but thank you for explaining (in case I somehow missed it :-D).

            I’m not going to assume the US military is full of idiots, because I’ve worked with many of them and have nothing but the highest respect for those serving.

            But this POTUS, who’s referred to those serving as “suckers”, gets into major urinating contests with Gold Star families, uses our soldiers as mere photo ops or cannon fodder for bad policy, lies about the pay raises only he could provide, and tosses our allies, friends, NATO partners, and the entire US intelligence community under the bus in favor of a commie government fun by a former KGB agent, isn’t making friends with those who know how to READ.

            None of this is showing “respect” for those who serve, especially since he’s too big a snowflake to go out in the rain to pay his respects, and openly feared for his welfare in the very places he’s so happy to send our troops (none of which happened under any previous administration).

            Putin is giving speeches about the instant and complete downfall of US global, political, and moral leadership. And while having a Russian saying such things about the USA isn’t anything new: this time, the rest of the world AGREES with him.

            All of which, we can be sure, makes everything happy and good for the average Trump supporter. Its the rest of the nation that isn’t buying it – and that is a considerable majority.

          • Phaeton

            ” in favor of a commie government fun by a former KGB agent”
            “And while having a Russian saying such things about the USA isn’t anything new: this time, the rest of the world AGREES with him”
            It doesn’t really matter whether world agrees or not.Al that matters is reality.
            And reality is that Trump has really nothing to do with the above.

        • old guy

          You have got to be jesting. If he, actually, supported the so called, “Iran Deal.” possibly the WORST one sided deal ever,they should not only have fired him but broken his sword, tore off his shoulder boards, and kicked him out of the fort. Although I am not a Republican, by any means, PREZ TRUMP’s plan has worked and is working in just about every foreign and domestic situation, despite what you hear on some of the TV stations, I am a strong advocate for a third party for quite a while (I voted for ROSS PEROT).

          • PolicyWonk

            I’ve been following foreign policy for a long time, and I see little (if any) success on the part of Mr. Trump. He’s far too erratic, has far to short an attention span, and by his own admission cannot be bothered to read the dossiers his aides prepare for him before he goes to meeting with foreign leaders (etc.). Even our GOP leadership has said publicly that Mr. Trump knows nothing about the legislation he (in theory) supports. The same sentiments are echoed by foreign leaders regardless of friend or foe.

            But the Iran deal was hardly one-sided, was working (even according to Trump’s White House), and imposed far heavier burdens on the Iranians than we ever imposed on the USSR. Then Trump walked away from it, without ANY strategy OR plan to replace it, let alone a desired endgame.

            He’s repeating the same mistakes he made (for example) with the TPP when he walked away from it, realized too late what it was all about, and tried to get back in only for our allies to tell him to “pound sand”.

            You’ll have to explain whatever foreign policy success you think he’s had. Because compared to the damage done to this nation and its reputation, these will likely be paltry/residual, and of little value.

          • old guy

            I suggest that yoy read the TPP for yourself. It is almost as bad as the “Paris accords” and the Iran nuclear deal.
            Gains in the Koean situatio, great improvement in Arab relations, Strong support for Israel, Questioning UN and NATO costs and actions,, on and on. I see no need to argue my statements, which you requested, because I have but to tune in to some of the anti-PREZ TRUMP channels, to hear them.
            I have found you to be a very solid analyst in the past and am, somewat taken aback by these posts.

    • MDK187

      The Saudis and the Emirates can take over for the Kurds. In fact, they have already started doing so. And Erdogan gets to deal with the Saudi regent whom he’d just tried to toss under the bus. How well do you figure that to work out for Erdogan?

    • You can spin it however you want, but you have to ask if we really need to be committing the US to defend the Kurds against the worlds third largest military (Russia) as well as a NATO ally (Turkey) – not to mention that we’re effectively aiding a separatist group while simultaneously saying we respect Syria’s territorial integrity. We went into Syria to defeat ISIS and because Obama sort of wanted to overthrow Assad. Well, ISIS is long defeated and it is clear that we no longer desire the end of Assad’s government, so why should we stay any longer?

      • NavySubNuke

        It is too late to ask that question since we have fought beside them for years and they, far more then Turkey, are the reason we defeated ISIS. To abandon them now that we no longer need them, for the second time, is far more damaging than continuing to work with them. We are going to need them again when, not if, Turkey breaks with NATO and joins Putin and Xi against the West – but they won’t be there after this betrayal.

        • PolicyWonk

          I’m with you on this one: abandoning loyal allies in favor of a leader that ignores all the lessons of Ataturk, and is for all intensive purposes a despot, is one way to ensure very bad karma, and further soil the reputation of the USA.

        • Because a loose alliance of tribal people (that includes avowed communist terrorists) are going to be the key element in winning WWIII against Russia and China? The Kurds are using us just as much as we are using them and they have now become a much greater liability than than they are an asset.

          • NavySubNuke

            Not what I said at all. I said would would need them when Turkey breaks with NATO and joins Putin and Xi against the West. A strong Kurd force would be an important check on Turkey and having them on our side would help PREVENT a war against Russia, China, and their proxies.
            Turkey is a far larger and more terrifying liability than the Kurds. There is a reason Erodogan has repeatedly purged his military of all who would dare challenge him and it isn’t good for America or NATO.

    • Stephen

      Imagine a CEO of a major corporation acting impulsively & so erratically, w/o any deference to counsel? Board of Directors would be forced to take action. Ukraine, Kurds, Yemen, China, Mexico, Canada, European Union, NATO, Venezuela, most of Africa – lack of education & common sense on full display…

      • MaskOfZero

        The CEO of a major corporation would have to justify all expenditures to taxpayers/shareholders made in achieving foreign policy and defense goals.

        Once honest analysis was performed, it would be quickly realized that the US is getting taken advantage of by its allies. The CEO would understand that foreign policy and defense rested upon a good economy and low debt for sustainable policy. He would realize that no alliance can survive without mutual benefit, and equal contributions.

        In a corporation, the CEO would demand this situation change, and that allies behave like allies, or cut his losses.

        That’s how it would really happen–not this squishy denial of reality.

        You are thinking like a government timeserver, not a corporate CEO.

        • Stephen

          Sorry, I was employing logic & 38 years of gov’t/military experience.

  • joe

    it’s not like the US will altogether cease intelligence gathering and watchful eyes upon the region. If we don’t directly know first hand what Daesh remanants are doing at all times, there should absolutely be assets on the payroll able to communicate their findings. Just a few sorties away from “checking” ISIS anytime we see fit. Precision guided bombs from naval fighters flying off of carriers or air force fighters coming out of Turkey or Jordan, I don’t see POTUS completely abandoning the actual ‘war on terror’

    • Duane

      Those who were in the oval office with Trump during his call with Erdogan that prompted the sudden pullout from Syria quoted Trump telling Erdogan: “Well, if you want Syria so bad, you can HAVE it!”

      In other words, Trump threw a brainless fit on the phone with a foreign leader and ally, as he has done dozens of times before.

      There was no thought, or strategy, or policy that drove Trump … just his own vain stupidity, as always.

      • Natalya

        Reminds me of a child with many temper tantrums.

    • I think this is going to be the case. While Obama just wanted out and did his best to ignore the subsequent rise of ISIS, Trump has proven he is willing to commit the forces needed to get the job done. Hopefully this Syria withdrawal is part of a shift to a “punitive raid” mindset rather than a “longterm occupation” one. Tying down our forces like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan is expensive and engaging in prolonged guerrilla wars is fighting on our enemies’ terms rather than on ours.

  • MDK187

    In simpler words : Fired for cause.
    As his own letter shows, Mattis never understood that Sec.Def. serves at the pleasure of the Executive, to execute defense policy as directed, and is not there to effect foreign policy of his own ideological mold. Mattis was another McCain. Good riddance.

    • Duane

      Trump is increasingly likely to be “fired for cause” via impeachment and conviction next year, or by the voters the following year.

      • MDK187

        In your own mind.

      • disqus_CbFK3MPhJu

        How come this phagget can post not stop cr app, is he
        the editors but ttt boy?

    • PolicyWonk

      Bottom line: Mattis RESIGNED.

      Trump shoved him out the door only after learning on TV (3 days later) that the resignation letter was a scathing rebuke of his policies (he’d previous said he’d read the letter, made a statement saying how great Mattis was).

      It is not uncommon for someone to resign, and then be shown the door earlier than expected.

      And in this rare case, Mattis is one of the very few to worked for Trump and left the administration with his fine reputation intact: Trump, however, did not emerge without being deeply embarrassed.

      • MDK187

        Right, he “resigned” the same way as Sessions did. Mattis was granted graceful exit in the form of a “resignation”, yet he turned right around and abused that generosity. Now the real educational aspect to all of this is that Mattis has shown himself to be an insubordinate, undisciplined, petty, and sulking foreign-interest-peddler, totally at odds with the concept of the chain of command, eager to “get back” at the executive he was allegedly serving. Quite perverse for a “military man”, actually. More like an unregistered foreign agent, close to the heart of Macron and May and Merkel.

        • PolicyWonk

          Incorrect. Mattis resigned on his own, and was not told to do leave until Trump was told his resignation letter scorched him.

          Mattis was (and remains) highly respected as a soldier, and one of the best Sec Defs in a generation. Mr. Trump gets no respect from anyone, because he hasn’t earned it, and aggressively makes himself look worse on a daily basis.

          You are attempting to alter the facts to fit your vastly more charitable narrative w/r/t Mr. Trump, when nothing can hide the fact that he revealed his lack of even basic reading comprehension skills.

          • MDK187

            Sure pal, lest I disturb your self-hypnosis-based worldview.

  • Duane

    No – defense IS most certainly foreign policy. It is foreign policy with military power.

    WTF do you think SecDef interacts with on a daily basis, besides our allies and in many cases also our opponents?

    • Ctrot

      The Defense Department doesn’t SET foreign policy, it only carries out the military solutions that are called for by those who do set foreign policy.

      • PolicyWonk

        The defense department (in theory) only gets called in when all other foreign policy efforts fail.

    • Ron Snyder

      I meant to say that SecDef doesn’t make Foreign Policy, he is mandated to carry out the President’s Foreign Policy.

  • Kim Chul Soo

    Mattis was so for looking to the two months to run around and bash the Commander-in-Chief. Looks like that won’t happen.

  • Ed L

    skyes picot agreement really messed up the middle east. the European Powers at the time should have just left it alone.

  • DaSaint

    Saw that coming! Once that letter was understood, there was no way he’d be allowed to serve another 60 days. That’s the President’s prerogative though, agree or disagree.

    Tillerson out. CEO of multibillion dollar multinational corporation.

    Kelly out. USMC General or not. Can’t reign in POTUS.

    Mattis out. USMC General? Connection to DoD and NATO. No matter.

    I’m waiting for us to announce we’re pulling out of South Korea next. POTUS has already expressed skepticism as to the value of being there.

  • MaskOfZero

    Mattis needed to go, and fortunately, Trump managed to push the right buttons to get him to resign.

    Mattis was never once loyal to the President who hired him, preferring to virtue signal to allies and media about climate change and transgender issues. Mattis forgot he was not the boss, and became indignant when he realized that he was the subordinate. Mattis is full of himself, and the left-wing media lap him up due to his anti-Trump behavior. (He’s almost as full of himself as that self-important jackass McRaven)

    Mattis had no exit strategy for Afghanistan or Syria, yet he acknowledged that there was no military solution. Mattis, like so many before him, called for perpetual war to feed the Military Industrial Complex. He bucked Trump every step of the way and was contemptuous of Trump in public and private. Mattis did not agree with Trump about making the allies pay their fair share in order to make NATO sustainable. The strategic impact of the pipeline from Russia to Germany went right over Mad Dog’s head while he was anguishing over climate change, and sucking up to the Germans–but Trump understood better than his ‘general’.

    Mattis wanted perpetual war, and after ISIS was defeated, he changed the goal posts yet again for leaving Syria and Afghanistan–going back to nation building everywhere but in America. The media agreed with Mattis’ warmongering since it is against Trump’s view–but the vast majority of Americans agree with Trump when it comes to getting out of 17 year old endless wars that cost buckets of American blood and 7 trillion dollars of American taxpayer’s money, yet have only made matters worse.

    A total waste of American blood and treasure. Ask yourself this: If America had done nothing after 911 except some selective bombing, would the Middle East be better or worse than today? Would America be better or worse than today? At least America would be 7 TRILLION DOLLARS richer.

    Just like in Viet Nam, the American military brass cannot prevent mission creep, and cannot understand the necessity of strict limits on the scope of military engagements. They earnestly believe that America is the World Police and must have a finger in every war pie. They are just plain stupid, arrogant, and incompetent given all of the precedents they had to learn the truth. (and greedy thanks to MIC job offers)

    A big part of the Swamp is in the military bureaucracy–and Mattis is one of the Creatures from the Black Lagoon.

    Bye bye–don’t be Mad Doggy.

    ‘ )

    • waveshaper1

      The USA’s leadership think they know everything when it comes to waging war but when it comes to results these geniuses have completely failed. IMHO, all these warmongering generals/cabinet position holders/congress critters/state department leadership/key intel folks/etc need to take a course in the basics of Waging War. I suggest that all these amateurs take the following super basic course, hopefully it will get them pointed in the right direction “finally”; The Course of Instruction; “Waging War 101 by Sun Tzu” – Blocks of Instruction – Block #1 “There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare”, Block #2 “What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations”, Block #3 “Where the army is, prices are high; when prices rise the wealth of the people is exhausted”.