President Trump is now saying he pushed former Defense Secretary James Mattis to resign because he “wasn’t happy” with Mattis’ performance.
During a recent interview with the New York Times, the president said about Matts: “I didn’t like the job he was doing. I wasn’t happy with it. I wasn’t happy with the — I got him more money than the military has ever seen before. And I wasn’t happy with the job that he was doing at all. And I said it’s time.”
In addition to referring to a “60 Minutes interview” where he called Mattis a Democrat, Trump revealed to the Times that he told Mattis to give him a letter of resignation—an account which seems to contradict his previous praise of the military veteran.
For instance, soon after the announcement was made in December 2018, Trump tweeted: “General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years. During Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made.”
However, the administration’s position seemed to change after Mattis’ resignation letter was widely viewed as a rebuke of Trump and his foreign policy positions including a planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria.
In fact, just days later, the president announced that Mattis’ interim replacement, Patrick Shanahan, would take over the position two months earlier than expected.