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Trump rants against Mattis, says he and Obama both ‘fired’ him, didn’t perform well in Afghanistan

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks before signing the Section 232 Proclamations on Steel and Aluminum Imports during a ceremony at the White House Thursday, March 8, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
January 02, 2019

A day after pushing Defense Secretary James Mattis out of office, President Trump declared that Mattis’ departure was essentially a termination.

During a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Trump took a jab at Mattis, saying he “essentially” fired the former Defense Secretary, according to The Washington Times.

“What’s he done for me? How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good,” Trump reportedly said. “As you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I.”

Mattis submitted a letter of resignation to President Trump less than two weeks ago. President Trump confirmed the news in a tweet late on Dec. 20, confirming that Mattis was “retiring, with distinction.”

“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. During Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting equipment. 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!” the tweets said.

Mattis’ letter, which cited differences of opinion with Trump, vowed to remain in the role until Feb. 28, 2019 to “allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated.”

However, within days, Trump announced that Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan would begin as Acting Defense Secretary on Jan. 1, pushing Mattis out nearly two months ahead of his intended departure date.

“I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!” Trump tweeted.

President Trump was reportedly angered by Mattis’ resignation letter and the media coverage of it in the following days, which led to the escalation of Mattis’ replacement.

In what has been considered a jab toward Mattis, President Trump tweeted on Dec. 22, saying, “When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should. Interesting relationship-but I also gave all of the resources that he never really had. Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S.”

Despite President Trump’s remarks on Mattis’ departure, Mattis is said to hold no contempt toward the President for his decision to push Mattis out.

“He was very calm about the whole thing. Very matter of fact. No anger, ” said Tom Mattis, Jim Mattis’ brother.