President Trump claims he 'essentially' fired Jim Mattis, who actually resigned in protest

President Trump insisted Wednesday that he “essentially” axed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — even though the outspoken Pentagon chief explicitly resigned in protest of the President’s foreign policy agenda.

The commander-in-chief made the factually dubious claim during a rambling appearance at the White House, his first of the new year.

“I wish him well. I hope he does well,” Trump told reporters of Mattis. “But, as you know, President Obama fired him and essentially so did I.”

It’s accurate that Obama pushed out Mattis as head of the U.S. Central Command in 2013, but Trump actually didn’t fire the longtime military official.

In fact, Mattis stated outright in a resignation letter last month that he was stepping down because his “core beliefs” lie in treating traditional U.S. allies with “respect” while being “clear-eyed” about authoritarian regimes such as Russia, China and North Korea.

"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 in the stunning missive.

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Donald Trump and Melania Trump make unannounced visit to Iraq
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Donald Trump and Melania Trump make unannounced visit to Iraq
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to speak to members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. - President Donald Trump arrived in Iraq on his first visit to US troops deployed in a war zone since his election two years ago (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, right, and senior military leadership, speaks to members of the media and military personnel at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet members of the military at a hanger rally at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive to visit with members of the military at a dining hall at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump visits with members of the military at a dining hall at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Donald Trump, accompanied by National Security Adviser John Bolton, third from left, first lady Melania Trump, fourth from right, US Ambassador to Iraq Doug Silliman, third from right, and senior military leadership, speaks to members of the media at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. - President Donald Trump arrived in Iraq on his first visit to US troops deployed in a war zone since his election two years ago (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump takes a photo as he greets members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump greets members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump signs a hat as First Lady Melania Trump looks on as they greet members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. - President Donald Trump arrived in Iraq on his first visit to US troops deployed in a war zone since his election two years ago (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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After the announcement, Trump rushed to replace Mattis, installing Patrick Shanahan as acting defense secretary effective Jan. 1, even though Mattis had said he would prefer to stay in the role until February to ensure a smooth transition.

Mattis reportedly also resigned in protest of Trump’s controversial decision to withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Syria and considering pulling all American soldiers from Afghanistan as well.

The President claimed at the Wednesday meeting that Mattis was actually thrilled by how much military funding his administration pushed for in last year’s budget — but took a parting shot at “Mad Dog” over his stance on Afghanistan.

“What’s he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. Not too good,” Trump said. “I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan and I shouldn’t be happy.”

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