Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has just clapped back against rumors that he may be leaving the administration amid alleged tensions with President Trump.
After Mattis was asked to comment on the rumors of his departure, he smiled and laughed, saying, “Those have been pretty good ones, haven’t they?” Business Insider reported Tuesday.
“I’m thinking about doing my job each day,” he explained to a crowd of reporters outside the Pentagon. See the video below:
Mattis responds to reports his time at the DoD is short: You shouldn’t take the reports seriously.
Adds how the “rumor” is spread by the news.
“Of course I don’t think about leaving, I love it here. I’m thinking about retiring here, getting a little place down on the Potomac.” pic.twitter.com/vNZxRvajXN
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) September 18, 2018
“Should we take it seriously?” a reporter asked.
“No, I wouldn’t take it seriously at all,” he said. “It’s like most of those kind of things in this town. Somebody cooks up a headline, they then call to a normally chatty class of people, they find a couple other things to put in, they add the rumor, somebody on the other coast starts writing the same thing, next thing you know you got a story.”
“It’ll die down, just like how many times [have] we been through this now just since I’ve been here?” he added. “It’ll die down soon, and the people who started the rumor will be allowed to write the next rumor too. Just the way the town is. Keep a sense of humor about it.”
“You never think about leaving?” another reporter asked as Mattis began to walk away.
“Of course I don’t think about leaving, I love it here! I’m thinking about retiring here, getting a little place down on the Potomac,” he answered, eliciting laughter from the group.
— Kristina Wong🇺🇸🐲 (@kristina_wong) September 19, 2018
Rumors intensified on Sept. 15 after numerous reports came out on the alleged growing disagreements and estrangement between Mattis and President Trump. The reports claim of sparse discussions between the two, increasing distrust and conflict on issues such as joint military exercises and transgender recruits, among other evidence disputed by both Mattis and Trump.
The rumors were also fueled by the release of journalist Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” which is filled with a negative portrayal of the Trump Administration, including portrayals of Mattis criticizing the President to colleagues.
Mattis issued a rare rebuttal, in the form of an official Department of Defense statement, to the book’s claims on Sept. 5.
“The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in [Bob] Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence. While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility,” Mattis said.
Woodward’s book claimed that Mattis told “close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader’” after a frustrating Cabinet meeting.
“In serving in this administration, the idea that I would show contempt for the elected Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, or tolerate disrespect to the office of the President from within our Department of Defense, is a product of someone’s rich imagination,” Mattis’ statement added.
On the same day, President Trump also combated the rumors, saying of Mattis, “He’ll stay right there. We’re very happy with him. We’re having a lot of victories.”
Despite remarks from Mattis and the President, reports continue to suggest that Trump will make a major administration change ahead of the next Presidential election.