Eli Ridder | Report
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is resigning from his position and retiring by the end of February 2019, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday evening.
In his resignation letter, Mattis said Trump has “the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours”, after noting that he strongly held the opinion of security and respecting allies.
Read the Resignation: Mattis Letter
“General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February,” Trump wrote on Twitter, adding that “during Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made”, specifically with new 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!”
General Mattis will end his tenure on Feb. 28, 2019, and submitted his resignation of his own accord, though speculation that he may leave started to grow when Trump said Mattis was “sort of a Democrat” in October.
The announcement came a day after President Trump set in motion a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria, a decision that Mattis and other national security and Middle East advisors were against.Mattis did praise Trump for his spending on security and securing strong funding for the Defence Department set for next year, and noted that he agreed with Trump that the U.S. should not be the policeman of the world.
However, Mattis appears to differ from Trump on more issues than find agreement in the letter, including his staunch support for maintaining a strong military presence in Afghanistan to defend peace.
The Pentagon declined to comment on Afghanistan, Reuters reported, but a spokesman for the National Security Council said that the White House as not going to comment “on future strategic developments”.
The White House is considering a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, ordering the Pentagon to draw up plans that will be due shortly after the new year, as the president wants to have options, NBC News reported.
With a government shutdown looming, the national security experts of at apparent odds with the president and special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russian election meddling due as early as February, the capitol is in what some analysts have marked as “chaos”.
NBC News exclusively reported on Thursday that Mr. Mueller is expected submit his report into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as early as mid-February 2019.
More details to follow. Image of Jim Mattis from Wikimedia Commons.