Well, I wondered who would be the next to go, but I didn’t expect this.
That’s right, folks, with Nikki Haley out as our ambassador to the United Nations and John Kelly leaving at the end of the year, we’ve almost cleaned all the adults out of this clown car of an administration.
So let’s make it final.
President Trump announced today that his Secretary of Defense James Mattis will be bailing by February.
“General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years,” Trump tweeted.
So is it retiring, or is it something else?
Well, it depends on if you believe the ridiculous spin put on the situation by the president, or if you can read between the lines in Mattis’ resignation letter (as well as the precipitating events from the last couple of days).
Mattis has kept a relatively low profile for the last couple of years. He kept his head down and attended to those issues that involved our national defense. He rarely put himself up front and allowed Trump to take the spotlight.
I guess he understood how much Trump needs his ego stroked by attention.
On Wednesday, Trump outraged everybody – except isolationists and Vladimir Putin – when he announced that he would be pulling American troops out of Syria, leaving our allies in a lurch, and creating a power vacuum.
In Trump’s estimation, we’ve defeated ISIS in the region.
Others, such as South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, disagree.
Graham skewered Trump’s announcement, pointing it out as a very bad idea, and asking the president to reconsider.
Let’s face it: Trump needs the news to change, because he’s had a bad couple of weeks.
Now, it appears he is considering a significant draw down in troops in Afghanistan, as well.
This is another move that is alarming those who see the danger in allowing others to take the lead in the region.
And Mattis would be one of those who has a problem with it.
“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” he wrote.
“One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances & partnerships. 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. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.
Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security interests – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.”
He is as disgusted with the path the president is leading the nation down as anyone, and no, this was not a planned retirement.
Mattis resignation letter a startling public rebuke, showing his lack of trust and respect for the President. pic.twitter.com/RNTnbkPPmV
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) December 20, 2018
I said from the beginning that allowing this slow-witted, ego-driven con artist to take up residence in our White House would lead to ruin.
So did many others.
Now, we countdown to the point where Trump’s faithful cult refer to Mattis as the “Deep State,” rather than the decorated Marine Corps general that he is.