Mattis leaving as Pentagon chief after clashes with Trump

National / World
zg_7629.jpg_1545346039665

ARLINGTON, VA – AUGUST 28: U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon August 28, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia. Mattis held the briefing with Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is stepping down from his post, President Donald Trump announced Thursday, after the retired Marine general clashed with the president over a troop drawdown in Syria and Trump’s go-it-alone stance in world affairs.

Mattis, perhaps the most respected foreign policy official in Trump’s administration, will leave by the end of February after two tumultuous years struggling to soften and moderate the president’s hardline and sometimes abruptly changing policies. The announcement came a day after Trump surprised U.S. allies and members of Congress by announcing the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Syria, and as he continues to consider shrinking the American deployment in Afghanistan.

In his resignation letter, Mattis alluded to disagreements with Trump as the reason for his departure.

“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,” Mattis wrote.

Trump said on Twitter that a new secretary will be named soon.

Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria has been criticized for abandoning America’s Kurdish allies, who may well face a Turkish assault once U.S. troops leave. Mattis, in his resignation letter, emphasized the importance of standing up for U.S. allies in an implicit criticism of the president’s decision.

“While the U.S. remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies,” Mattis wrote.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Download the KSN News App and stay up-to-date wherever you are. You can even watch KSN News live for free!
Click here to get the app
Get it in the App store
Get it in the Google Play store

3 Day Forecast

KSN Storm Track 3 Weather

Trending Stories