Published: Thu, December 27, 2018
Entertaiment | By Simon Arnold

Defense Secretary James Mattis thanks troops in Christmas message

Defense Secretary James Mattis thanks troops in Christmas message

Bernstein claimed that Mattis, as well as former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster were of the opinion that Trump is "unfit".

Hours earlier, Mr Trump had tweeted that he and Mr Erdogan "discussed (ISIS), our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of USA troops from the area". Although Mattis planned to step down at the end of February, the president announced Sunday that Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan would be taking over the top spot starting on the first of the year. Now, he's the new acting secretary of defense.

Brett McGurk, the top USA envoy to the worldwide coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group, also resigned in protest over Trump's Syria decision.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has signed the execute order withdrawing USA troops from Syria, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.

Shanahan did not serve in the military.

Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general, had been expected to retain his position as Pentagon chief through February.

If Shanahan stays on as a permanent defence secretary, he is unlikely to push strongly held views on those conflicts - and, when paired with the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, could usher in a shift in power further toward the military brass.

However, he changed his tone two days later, writing on Twitter that he had given Mattis a "second chance" after he was "ingloriously" fired by then-US president Barack Obama, and appearing to take aim at a line from Mattis' resignation letter about respecting allies. Mattis "was rebuffed, and told the president that he was resigning as a result", The New York Times said at the time.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said he "deeply regretted" Mr Trump's decision, and that "an ally must be reliable".

"He was very calm about the whole thing", Tom Mattis said.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sent a holiday message to USA service members in which he commended them and noted their sacrifice, yet also said, "storm clouds loom".

"I've encouraged him to find people who have some overlap with him but don't see the world in lockstep with him", Mulvaney said.

"Since Washington crossed the DE at Christmas in 1776, American troops have missed holidays at home to defend our experiment in democracy", he says. "No anger", he told the Times.

Just after tweeting the announcement about Shanahan, Trump said he had had "a long and productive call" with Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr Trump has come under withering criticism from fellow Republicans and worldwide allies in recent days over his moves to wind down USA involvement in Syria and Afghanistan, against the advice of his top aides and United States commanders. "After many years they are coming home".

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