President Donald Trump announced via Twitter on Thursday afternoon that there is another major staffing change taking place in his administration. It had been speculated for quite some time now that General Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, may not stay in that position for much longer. Now, according to Trump's Twitter page, Mattis will be retiring at the end of the year.
Donald Trump announced Mattis' retirement in a pair of tweets late Thursday afternoon. Mattis' resignation letter has been made available, and NBC reporter Katy Tur shared it via her Twitter account. As she notes, the Secretary of Defense wrote specifically about the importance of maintaining strong alliances and treating allies with respect.
As the letter continued, Mattis made it abundantly clear that he feels the administration's approach to handling relationships with foreign allies and competitors is not in line with his own. He noted that his tenure runs until February 28, 2019, and that he believes staying until then allows sufficient time for a replacement to be nominated, confirmed, and fully transitioned into the role.
According to a tweet from Politico reporter Eliana Johnson, Mattis went to the White House Thursday afternoon to try to persuade the president to change course on the Syria withdrawal decision. When Trump would not back down, Mattis seemingly decided he could no longer continue in his position.