Former Marine Corps General and former Defense Secretary for the Trump administration James Mattis fiercely denounced President Donald Trump in a public statement that was released this week. He rebuked the president for working to divide Americans and for using the military as a political prop for that division amidst the nationwide protests against police brutality that have unfolded after the police murder of a black man named George Floyd. As always, most Congressional Republicans have barely even acknowledged the spotlight on Trump’s failures. However, when questioned by reporters this week, Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney, who frequently criticizes Trump, had nothing but praise for Mattis, implying that he at least understands where the former general is coming from when he characterizes Trump as a threat to the Constitution.
Sen. Murkowski says on record what’s been off record: “When I saw General Mattis’ comments yesterday I felt like perhaps we are getting to a point where we can be more honest with the concerns that we might hold internally and have the courage of our own convictions to speak up.”
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) June 4, 2020
Romney told reporters:
‘General Mattis’s letter was stunning and powerful. Gen. Mattis is a man of extraordinary sacrifice. He’s an American patriot. He’s an individual whose judgment I respect, and I think the world of him. If I ever had to choose somebody to be in a foxhole with, it would be with a General Mattis. What a wonderful, wonderful man.’
Check it out below:
"If I ever had to choose somebody to be in a foxhole with, it would be with General Mattis."
— ABC News (@ABC) June 4, 2020
Trump had the exact opposite reaction to Mattis’s criticism. He posted a rant on Twitter that was chock full of outright lies. He said:
‘Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was “Chaos”, which I didn’t like, & changed to “Mad Dog”’
…His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom “brought home the bacon”. I didn’t like his “leadership” style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020
There are three lies in that first tweet alone. For starters, Trump did not fire Mattis, and neither did the president ask for Mattis’s resignation. Additionally, Mattis had the nickname “Mad Dog” before he ever entered the Trump administration. How egomaniacally inane, self-obsessed, and disconnected from reality does Trump have to be to take credit for a nickname that someone had years before Trump ever showed up?
John Kelly on Trump's tweets claiming he fired Mattis:
“The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation. The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."https://t.co/HKbtoPbcr2
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) June 4, 2020
Meanwhile, Romney is not the only Republican Senator who has actually offered praise for Mattis and his letter. Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, for instance, said that she was “struggling” with the question of whether or not to support Trump’s re-election bid, and she added, in reference to Mattis’s letter in particular:
‘I was really thankful. I thought General Mattis’s words were true and honest and necessary and overdue.’
🚨🚨MURKOWSKI to @pkcapitol about mattis piece: “I was really thankful. I thought Gen Mattis’ words were true and honest and necessary and overdue.”
She says she’s “struggling” over whether she can support trump.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) June 4, 2020
In his original comments, Mattis stated, in part:
‘Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.’
Trump has proven the truth of Mattis’s words each and every day.
Trump initially announced Mattis "will be retiring, with distinction." Then, after Mattis released a resignation letter that was critical of Trump, Trump started lying that it was a firing. https://t.co/fdovXykyh6
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 4, 2020