The Trump administration continues to be defined by rounds of high profile senior staff departures, and the revolving door’s latest casualty is Defense Secretary James Mattis. The administration had previously indicated Mattis would depart at the end of February, but President Donald Trump has now announced that he will instead have current Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan assume the position of acting Defense Secretary on January 1.
‘I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!’
Trump has been reported to be privately angry over the tone Mattis took in his resignation letter that has of course sparked some significant, substantively harsh news coverage of his administration — that ever-present “foe” the president loves to hate. The current staffing shift essentially confirms the behind-the-scenes reporting on the fallout.
In his letter, Mattis directly rebuked Trump’s approach to foreign policy, which has seen him cozying up with Russia and North Korea and rebuffing longtime allies like Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. The retired general insisted that he did not see eye to eye with the president on the subject of the chaos his policies continue to enact across the world.
Mattis had previously been reported to be one of the “adults in the room” when it came to Trump administration security decisions, and his parting shot of a resignation letter all but formally confirmed the coverage. Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — and thereby play into the Assad regime-supporting Kremlin’s hand — was the last straw for Mattis.
Trump can’t just keep trying to fire his way out of tough situations, though. Robert Mueller continues to catch up with him.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot