Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff made a stark statement on Thursday after President Donald Trump abruptly and shockingly announced via Twitter that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis would retire in February.
“Old Marines never die, but they do resign after the President ignores their advice, betrays our allies, rewards our enemies, and puts the nation’s security at risk. Turn out the lights when Mattis leaves; we will not see his like again while Trump remains in office,” Schiff wrote.
Old Marines never die, but they do resign after the President ignores their advice, betrays our allies, rewards our enemies, and puts the nation’s security at risk. Turn out the lights when Mattis leaves; we will not see his like again while Trump remains in office. https://t.co/fKUTe5nPIR
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) December 20, 2018
Schiff, from California, is currently the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee who has served in Congress since 2001. He is also the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman.
Mattis, 68, is a retired four-star Marine Corps general with a career spanning 44 years. He previously headed the U.S. Central Command overseeing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a series of tweets sent Thursday, Trump said Mattis will be retiring “with distinction, … after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years.”
“During Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting equipment,” Trump continued. “General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations. A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!”
In his resignation letter, Mattis made it clear that he and Trump have differences of opinion, which many have speculated is the reason for his leaving.
Mattis wrote President Trump a letter, which surfaced not long after Trump’s tweet, saying, “Because you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours … I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
The announcement came one day after Trump announced the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and a bold declaration that ISIS was defeated, despite contradictions from the Pentagon about ISIS and criticisms from Republican members of Congress.
The announcement also takes place months after news reports surfaced of tensions between Trump and Mattis over differences in opinion over various policies.
Each time, Trump and Mattis both denounced reports of any conflict between them.
In October, Trump said Mattis was “sort of a Democrat” and predicted he would resign.
“He may leave,” Trump said at the time. “I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody. People leave. That’s Washington.”
In July, reports suggested that the relationship between Trump and Mattis was souring, citing Trump’s failure to notify Mattis before making decisions to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, halt military exercises with South Korea, or establish a Space Force as a sixth military branch.
White House officials said at the time that the two didn’t “see eye to eye” and “were never especially close.” One official said that Mattis wasn’t in Trump’s inner circle for decision making.
Mattis was the most approved member of the Trump Administration and hailed as one of the greatest military minds of our time.