Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has a book coming out this summer, but he warns that it will not be a “tell-all” about President Trump, the AP reports.
Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead will be published July 16.
A close adviser to ex-Defense Secretary James Mattis has written a “sometimes shocking” book detailing the “complicated relationship” between Mattis and President Trump, and describing how Mattis worked to block some of Trump’s proposals, NBC News reports.
Written by the secretary’s former communications director, retired Navy Cmdr. Guy “Bus” Snodgrass, Holding the Line: Inside the Pentagon With General Mattis is scheduled for publication in October.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he was “distressed” by Defense Secretary James Mattis’s resignation announcement, The Hill reports.
Said McConnell: “I believe it’s essential that the United States maintain and strengthen the post-World War II alliances that have been carefully built by leaders in both parties. We must also maintain a clear-eyed understanding of our friends and foes, and recognize that nations like Russia are among the latter.”
He added: “So I was sorry to learn that Secretary Mattis, who shares those clear principles, will soon depart the administration. But I am particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America’s global leadership.”
“President Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw troops from Syria is a clear rebuke to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the last remaining member of a retinue of military men Trump once fondly called ‘my generals,'” the Washington Post reports.
“Mattis had argued that the counterterrorism mission in Syria is not over and that the small U.S. presence in Syria should remain… The Pentagon chief also had tried to explain to Trump that there would be more chaos in the region and future problems for the United States if the troops leave.”
A senior administration official told CNN that Trump’s decision to withdraw troops is “a mistake of colossal proportions and the President fails to see how it will endanger our country.”
Mike Allen: “President Trump has clearly soured on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and top Republicans and Democrats both tell me his departure would be particularly costly for the White House — and a disturbing sign for outsiders.”
Said one former aide: “His tone on Mattis is really striking. … Will be worth watching whether he’s just brushing him back and moving on, or if he launches a sustained effort to get him to quit.”
“And if Mattis departs on anything other than the most cordial terms, confirming a successor will be fraught. But here’s something aides may not have told the president: People who know Mattis tell me that he won’t stay around to be abused and humiliated like Attorney General Jeff Sessions has. If ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, as Trump calls him, is convinced that the president is shorting his stock, the retired four-star Marine general could leave abruptly.”
President Trump suggested on 60 Minutes that Defense Secretary James Mattis could be one of the next administration officials to depart his Cabinet.
Said Trump: “I have a very good relationship with him. I had lunch with him two days ago. I have a very good relationship with him. It could be that he is. I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth. But General Mattis is a good guy. We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody. People leave. That’s Washington.”
He added that there are “some people” in his administration that he’s “not thrilled with.”
New York Times: “Interviews with more than a dozen White House, congressional and current and former Defense Department officials over the past six weeks paint a portrait of a president who has soured on his defense secretary, weary of unfavorable comparisons to Mr. Mattis as the adult in the room, and increasingly concerned that he is a Democrat at heart.”
“Nearly all of the officials, as well as confidants of Mr. Mattis, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal tensions — in some cases, out of fear of losing their jobs.”
“In the second year of his presidency, Mr. Trump has largely tuned out his national security aides as he feels more confident as commander in chief, the officials said. Facing what is likely to be a heated re-election fight once the 2018 midterms are over, aides said Mr. Trump was pondering whether he wanted someone running the Pentagon who would be more vocally supportive than Mr. Mattis, who is vehemently protective of the American military against perceptions it could be used for political purposes.”
Josh Rogin: “Well before this week’s revelations about President Trump’s interactions with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Bob Woodward’s new book, officials inside the White House have been actively discussing who will replace Mattis at the Pentagon — whenever he might step down.”
“Of course, in light of Woodward’s reporting that Mattis told associates Trump ‘acted like — and had the understanding of — a fifth- or sixth-grader,’ internal speculation about Mattis’s potential departure has intensified.”
“Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was in Norway over the weekend, a short hop from the site of President Trump’s Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. But often it seemed as though Mattis was inhabiting a distant world,” the Washington Post reports.
“For much of the past week, amid Trump’s upbraiding of the NATO allies, his undermining of the British prime minister and his courting of Putin, Mattis has been nearly invisible. On the rare occasions he has spoken, the Pentagon chief did not refer to his boss.”
“Mattis traveled with Trump to the NATO summit in Brussels but remained offstage when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton joined Trump during the president’s impromptu news conference.”
NBC News: “The way these recent presidential decisions on major national security issues have played out, as detailed by current and former White House and defense officials, underscores a significant change in Mattis’s role in recent months. The president is relying less and less on the advice of one of the longest-serving members of his cabinet, the officials said.”
Said a former senior White House official: “They don’t really see eye to eye.”
“The president has cooled on Mattis, in part because he’s come to believe his defense secretary looks down on him and slow-walks his policy directives… The president is now more inclined to rely on his own instincts or the advice of Pompeo and Bolton.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis openly differed with his commander in chief over North Korea, the latest example of a once-rare public display of disagreement by top U.S. aides that has become more frequent under President Trump, Reuters reports.
“We are never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis told reporters, just hours after Trump said in a tweet that ‘talking is not the answer’ to the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.
In a recent trip to Jordan, Defense Secretary James Mattis told U.S. troops in an informal speech to “hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis told the MIHS Islander that President Obama should have listened more to Hillary Clinton’s advice.
Said Mattis: “I was a NATO officer and then a central command officer under President Obama and he was trying to reach out to the Arab people. He unfortunately didn’t always have the best advisors or he didn’t listen to his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, so we missed some opportunities there.”
“Defense Secretary James Mattis has privately told Congress the Trump administration’s Pentagon budget request isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding the military as President Trump has vowed to do,” CNN reports.
“Mattis is not publicly raising concerns about the $603 billion Pentagon budget plan, aligning himself with the White House’s decision, though it’s a stance that’s sparking frustration from some Republican defense hawks in Congress.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis “appears to be at odds with President Donald Trump on Russia and other key issues, setting up potential discord but also helping to nudge the White House toward more conventional policy stances,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“In recent days, other top administration officials have aired foreign-policy views that don’t align perfectly with the new president… But it is Mr. Mattis who has differed with the president on the most issues. And while that could set up a clash with a White House that has said those who don’t agree with the president should leave, the defense chief seems to have had the most success in prodding Mr. Trump away from some of his positions.”
“As President Trump’s new Pentagon chief, Jim Mattis has a long list of tasks ahead, including devising a more aggressive campaign to combat the Islamic State and restoring military readiness after years of budget cuts. But a few weeks into his tenure, the retired general’s most visible role has been of a different sort: soothing Americans and allies unnerved by the president and some of his top advisers,” the Washington Post reports.
“Mattis, wrapping up a visit to Japan and South Korean last week, carried a message of constancy and restraint on many of the foreign policy issues whose fate has generated anxiety since Trump’s election.”
“The White House is drafting a presidential directive that calls on Defense Secretary James Mattis to devise plans to more aggressively strike the Islamic State,” the New York Times reports.
“President Trump, who is to make his first visit to the Pentagon as commander in chief on Friday, will demand that the new options be presented to him within 30 days… During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly said that he had a secret plan to defeat the Islamic State, but he also said that he would give his commanders a month to come up with new options.”
“Donald Trump’s nomination of James Mattis as Defense secretary is sparking questions about how well the retired Marine general will get along with Mike Flynn, the three-star general set to be national security adviser,” The Hill reports.
“Trump has a history of setting up rivalries among his advisers, and it appears he’s likely to have a big one on his national security team.”
“Flynn reportedly sought to block Mattis’s nomination because he did not want a general with higher ranking than him in the Cabinet. And according to the Washington Post, a power struggle has already begun between the Trump transition team and Mattis over who should serve in top slots at the Pentagon.”
Goddard spent more than a decade as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he was a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You Won - Now What? (Scribner, 1998), a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties. In addition, Goddard's essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country.
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University. He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.
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