Trump Is Pushing Mattis out Earlier than Planned - Rolling Stone
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Trump Is Pushing Mattis Out Earlier Than Planned

The president announced Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan would take over the role in January

Donald Trump, Jim Mattis

President Donald Trump with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/REX/Shutterstock

When Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned his post earlier this week, the president praised him in a tweet, saying Mattis served “with distinction” and added, “I greatly thank Jim for his service!” Mattis said he intended to stay another two months, leaving the administration in February. But in a Sunday morning tweet, Trump announced that Mattis would leave two months sooner than expected.

According to the New York TimesTrump has felt escalating anger toward Mattis over his resignation letter that criticized Trump’s abandonment of allies and reluctance to confront authoritarian leaders. This led to negative news coverage — Trump’s kryptonite — and thus shifted the president’s attitude towards the retired four-star general.

The president first indicated his changing opinions on Mattis in a Saturday evening tweet, directing a barb at him: “When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should.” He also added, “Allies are very important — but not when they take advantage of U.S.,” responding to Mattis’ resignation letter.

Then, on Sunday morning, Trump went even further, announcing that Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan would take over as acting secretary of defense effective January 1st, sending Mattis back to retirement two months early. Shanahan is a former Boeing executive who came to the Trump administration in 2017.

Trump has been tweeting frequently amid the government shutdown as his family visits Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida for the holidays, leaving the president alone in the White House with only his best friend, Twitter, for company.

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