On December 20, President Donald Trump announced — via Twitter — that Secretary of Defense James Mattis would be “retiring” at the end of February. The announcement was made following the president’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria.
In his resignation letter, however, Mattis made it clear that he was, in fact, quitting.
“I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote, according to the Guardian.
Parts of the letter were interpreted by some as criticism of the president and his policies. In the letter, James Mattis made sure to draw a comparison between his and Donald Trump’s views of foreign policy. Praised by part of the public, media pundits, and journalists alike, Mattis’ resignation letter has reportedly made Donald Trump furious.
Citing a source close to the White House, CNN‘s Jim Acosta said Friday that Donald Trump “hates” the letter, Raw Story reports.
“He hates that letter,” Acosta said. “But he hates the coverage even more.”
According to Acosta, Trump is frustrated that Mattis was viewed as the “adult in the room.” Not unlike many other members of the administration, Mattis has enjoyed positive media coverage and bipartisan support. Mattis and other generals were thought to be able to “check on” Donald Trump’s worst “impulses,” according to Acosta.
“And so the president, once again, irritated by this notion here in Washington that he is sometimes in need of adult daycare,” the journalist said.
But progressive media outlets are not exactly infatuated with Mattis. In 2017, the Intercept described Mattis as an Iran-obsessed war-hawk, who brought the United States to the brink of war. The now former secretary of defense has also been tied to some of the worst crimes of the Iraq war. In April 2004, for instance, Mattis approved an attack on the village of Mukaradeeb. The attack killed 42 civilians, 13 children included.
Donald Trump just violated the only real taboo in American politics - crossing the war party. Column: https://t.co/EsYV5iIJQm— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 21, 2018
Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan may have prompted Mattis’ resignation — fueling vocal mainstream media opposition to anti-interventionism — but progressive journalists are pointing out that pulling troops out of the Middle East should be supported, regardless of who and why makes the decision.
In an op-ed penned for the Rolling Stone, award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi wrote that “nothing unites our political class like the threat of ending our never-ending war.”
“We’ve successfully brainwashed big chunks of the population into thinking it’s normal for a country to exist in a state of permanent war, fighting in seven countries at once, spending half of all discretionary funding on defense,” Taibbi concluded.