Mitch McConnell piles on to Defense Secretary James Mattis' rebuke of Trump

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican of Kentucky, issued a strong statement following the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, saying he is "particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America’s global leadership."
  • His statement echoes Mattis' resignation letter, which stresses the importance of maintaining US alliances.
  • President Donald Trump's decision to pull troops out of Syria — which analysts say is a boon for our adversaries, Russia, ISIS, Iran, and the Syrian regime — was reportedly the last straw for Secretary Mattis.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican of Kentucky, issued a strong statement following the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, saying he is "particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America’s global leadership."

His statement echoes Mattis' resignation letter when stressing the importance of maintaining US alliances.

"I believe it’s essential that the United States maintain and strengthen the post-World War II alliances that have been carefully built by leaders in both parties," McConnell said in his statement. "We must also maintain a clear-eyed understanding of our friends and foes, and recognize that nations like Russia are among the latter."

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Notable people who have been fired or resigned from Trump's administration
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Notable people who have been fired or resigned from Trump's administration

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis

(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks reportedly announced her resignation after testifying about her job and being required to tell "white lies."

(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired by President Trump in March 2018.

(Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

White House aide Omarosa Manigault insists she resigned and was not fired from her role in December 2017.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned from his position on July 5, 2018 after a number of ethics scandals.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Sally Yates was fired from her post as acting attorney general when she refused to enforce President Trump's travel ban. 

(Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Rob Porter resigned as White House staff secretary in February 2018 amid abuse allegations made by his ex-wives.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

White House Counsel Don McGahn

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

H.R. McMaster was replaced by John Bolton as national security advisor in March 2018.

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

White House aide Kelly Sadler left her position in June 2018 after reportedly mocking Sen. John McCain.

(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn announced his resignation in March 2018 after becoming a key architect of the 2017 tax overhaul 

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his interactions with Russian officials. 

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

President Trump announced David Shulkin was out as secretary of veterans affairs by sending a tweet announcing he had nominated his personal physican, Ronny Jackson, to replace him on March 28, 2018.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in early May.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned in July.

(June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus resigned in July.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Former advisor to President Donald Trump Steve Bannon resigned in August.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director was fired in July after just 10 days on the job. 

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Trump fired Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh amid White House leaks in April.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files)

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned in late September. 

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Trump fired U.S. Attorney in Manhattan Preet Bharara in March.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Mike Dubke resigned as White House communications director in late May.

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Walter Shaub, former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics in Washington, DC resigned in July.

(Photo Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

White House deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka resigned in August 2017. 

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Rick Dearborn, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs, left the White House in December 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

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In Mattis' resignation letter he said, "while the US 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."

Like McConnell, Mattis also name-checked Russia: "It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies."

Trump's decision to pull troops out of Syria — which analysts say is a boon for US adversaries, Russia, ISIS, Iran, and the Syrian regime — was reportedly the last straw for Secretary Mattis. Kurds in Syria, US allies in Syria, are furious about the withdrawal, as they fear a Turkish incursion.

"So I was sorry to learn that Secretary Mattis, who shares those clear principles, will soon depart the administration," McConnell continued.

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