Jim Mattis wasn’t ruffled when President Donald Trump informed him that he was being pushed out of his position as Defense Secretary two months earlier than expected, according to his brother Tom Mattis. Business Insider reports that the military leader’s brother spoke to Jim Mattis over the phone on Sunday morning after a tumultuous week in Washington D.C. Jim Mattis was characteristically calm, showing no anger at being forced out of Trump’s White House.
“He was very calm about the whole thing. Very matter of fact. No anger,” Tom Mattis said. “As I have said many times in other circumstances, Jim knows who he is… many more Americans (now) know his character.”
Mattis announced that he would be leaving his position as Secretary of Defense last week, penning a passionate message that may have obliquely referenced Trump’s foreign policy positions. In the letter, he warned his successor to be cautious about how they treat foreign adversaries who seek to undermine the United States, potentially alluding to Trump’s allegedly friendly tone towards Russia. He also called for his successor to strengthen American relationships with its allies.
After the fallout from the letter, Trump announced via Twitter that Mattis wouldn’t be sticking around until February 28. Instead, Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who has no military experience, would assume the leadership role over the government’s largest department on January 1.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2018
But Mattis wasn’t upset by the announcement, says Tom Mattis, though it isn’t clear what the Marine Corps general plans to do in the near future. The younger Mattis says that he isn’t sure his brother is ready for retirement, and that Jim Mattis is dedicated to serving the country.
He does say that he is proud of his brother for resigning after Trump’s announcement to pull American troops out of Syria. He said that you can count on his brother to always give honest advice, and to speak his truth.
Tom Mattis lives in Washington state with their mother, who is 96. He, like his brother, also served with the Marines.
During his last days in office, Mattis spent his holidays working at the Pentagon, where he sent troops a merry Christmas message.
“To those in the field or at sea, ‘keeping watch by night’ this holiday season, you should recognize that you carry on the proud legacy of those who stood the watch in decades past,” Mattis wrote. “In this world awash in change, you hold the line. Storm clouds loom, yet because of you, your fellow citizens live safe at home.”