James N. Mattis/Flickr (CC-BY)

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigns with letter reproaching Trump

His letter reads like a Taylor Swift song.


Alyse Stanley


Posted on Dec 20, 2018   Updated on May 20, 2021, 10:58 pm CDT

Defense Secretary James Mattis announced Thursday that his tenure will end in February. President Donald Trump called his leaving a retirement, but to everyone else looking on, it seems an awful lot like a resignation.

Perhaps that’s because Mattis’ letter announcing the news, which quickly circulated on Twitter, takes on a passive aggressive tone.

“While the U.S. remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies,” the letter reads. Perhaps most damning, he says Trump has “the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects.”

The news comes just one day after the White House announced it would be withdrawing all troops from Syria, the latest in a series of decisions that have gone directly against Mattis’ opinion. He also opposed the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and Trump’s order to ban transgender troops, among other issues. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) summed up their disagreements in a handy list.

Vox founder Ezra Klein said Mattis’ statement “reads more like a break-up letter … Translation: It’s not me. It’s really, really you.” Another Twitter user described it as “a polite accusation of treason.”

Several Twitter users including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who was Trump’s opponent in the 2016 Republican primaries, expressed harsh words directly and indirectly at the president. Both representatives and public alike, though, somberly spoke of a dire future for the country. 


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*First Published: Dec 20, 2018, 7:18 pm CST