James Mattis steps down from Pentagon
The US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will retire at the end of February. President Donald Trump today announced this via Twitter. Mattis was Minister of Defense for two years.
“During Jim’s tenure, great progress has been made, especially in the area of purchasing new combat equipment. General Mattis was a great help for me to get allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations, “said Trump.
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. During Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2018
Mattis himself emphasizes “that he will step down”. In his letter of resignation, which shows disagreement between him and the president, he writes that Trump is entitled to a Defense Minister who is more in line with the president.
There had been rumors for several months that Mattis had hardly any influence on Trump. On Wednesday, the president announced unexpectedly that US troops will withdraw from Syria, a decision for which he received much criticism from the US Congress. And Mattis, who repeatedly warned in the past for a too rapid withdrawal from Syria, does not agree with the decision, as is also apparent from his letter of resignation.
Mattis’ resignation letter makes it clear.
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.” pic.twitter.com/8mkGFXKihI
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) December 20, 2018
“You are entitled to a Minister of Defense whose views are more in line with yours … I think my departure is a good thing”, writes the ex-general in a letter of a small one-and-a-half page.
Mattis does not refer directly to Syria, but gives his own opinion extensively and it shows that respect for the allies is central. “I have always believed that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique system of alliances and alliances. While the US is indispensable in the free world, we can not defend our interests or fulfill our role without showing strong alliances and without respect for our partners. ”
Mattis leaves on February 28, leaving him enough time to appoint a successor. Mattis himself would participate in a NATO summit for the last time in February in Brussels. “I promise that I will do everything I can to ensure a smooth transition”, the Defense Minister decided.
Mattis is the last in a long line of ministers and advisers from Trump to leave. Recently, Chief of Staff John Kelly, Minister of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Minister of Justice Jeff Sessions announced their departure.
Trump also said he would soon appoint a successor.