Trump Is Forcing Mattis Out Two Months Earlier Than Planned

The president reportedly did not understand Mattis’ resignation letter to be sharply critical of his administration.

Susan Walsh/AP

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will be leaving the Trump administration by January 1, President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning. His departure from the White House will come more than two months earlier than planned, likely due to the president’s fury over the defense secretary’s resignation letter, which was widely seen as a sharp criticism of the administration’s “America First” foreign policy agenda.

An aide who spoke to the New York Times said Trump initially praised Mattis when he tweeted that the secretary of defense would be resigning because he did not understand Mattis’ resignation letter to be a strongly-worded rebuke of the president’s approach to foreign affairs. As the news coverage of Mattis’ departure grew more negative, Trump reportedly became “increasingly angry” and floated the idea of forcing him out to his aides.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, will take his place as acting secretary of defense.

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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