- President Donald Trump insisted that former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was fired rather than voluntarily resign.
- Trump claimed he asked Mattis for his resignation letter.
- The president’s recollection of the incident relates to Bob Woodward’s recent account written in the White House, which states, “anger.”
- In the book, Woodward writes that Mattis made two copies of his resignation letter – one copy to be taken to a controversial meeting with Trump, and the other copy to his office that would eventually be released to news organizations.
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President Donald Trump insisted that his former Secretary of Defense was fired instead of voluntarily resigning, a claim recently written by a White House award-winning Washington Post journalist.
Speaking to an audience on Tuesday in ABC News Townhall, Trump criticized Jim Mattis, a retired four-star Marine Corps general who was one of several “disgruntled former employees” who left his administration in unfavorable circumstances Had given.
“Highly overrated general, didn’t do the job,” Trump said of the highly-respected retired officer.
Mattis announced his resignation in December 2018, citing disagreement with the president’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. The withdrawal, which Mattis strongly opposed, would leave American allies in the region and collide with what Mattis considered to be the biggest contender for America’s strength.
Mattis wrote in his resignation letter to Trump, “Because you have the right to have the Secretary of Defense, whose views on these and other topics better match yours, I believe it is right for me . ”
But during the townhall on Tuesday, Trump claimed: “He did not resign.”
“Give me a letter. No one else. Give me a letter,” Trump said remembering himself. “I said, ‘Jim, give me a letter. It’s time for you to move on.”
“They gave me a letter, but I fired it,” Trump said. “That’s called, ‘I fired him.” Now, General Mattis did not work. I was not happy with them. ”
The president’s recollection of the incident relates to Bob Woodward’s recent account written in the White House, which states, “anger.” An award-winning journalist best known for his work exposing the Watergate scandal in 1972, Woodward has written several books about American presidents and their top advisers, based on extensive interviews with insiders.
In his latest book, which was sourced from more than a dozen sources, Woodward wrote that Mattis drafted two copies of an resignation letter immediately before his meeting with the president. Mattis wanted to persuade Trump to withdraw his abrupt decision to pull US forces out of Syria in late December – a conversation he hoped would fail.
Mattis took a copy of his resignation letter and left the remaining copy on top of his desk drawer, Woodward wrote.
Mattis ultimately failed to convince the president that an American presence in the region, in addition to his allies, was necessary to counter ISIS.
“Mr. President, this is probably the best you have read” Matt said, “according to anger, before handing his letter to Trump.”
Trump reportedly responded to Mattis’ letter: “This is not a real good letter.”
“Mr. President, if you and I do not agree that we are partnering with allies – the way we look at allies – then the press is going to come, well, for a hundred different reasons. Why leaving, ”Mattis replied.
Trump agreed with Mattis’ assessment and asked if the letter would be publicized.
“It’s gone public,” Mattis said. “Number one, if we don’t do it, it will be leaked. Just put the matter there and say, ‘This is it.”
After leaving the White House, Mattis called his Chief of Staff and instructed to release the letter to the media at his desk, Woodward wrote.
Mattis mostly remained silent after his resignation, a move that broke with other former White House senior officials who left the Trump administration in a supernatural style. However, in June, he issued a statement to The Atlantic stating that Trump was a threat to the US Constitution.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who doesn’t try to unite the American people – doesn’t even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote. “We are seeing the results of three years of this deliberate effort. We are seeing the results of three years without mature leadership.”
Mattis said, “We should reject those people and hold office who will make fun of our Constitution.”