Mattis answers reporters’ questions about stepping down as Secretary of Defense

U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, hold a joint press conference at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., Aug. 28, 2018. DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando

Defense Secretary Jim “Chaos” Mattis responded to reporter rumors that he was going to step down, addressing the press with a verbal knife hand and a subtle warning about those who like to spread falsehoods.

The rumors were largely circulated in response to author Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, which claims that Mattis said that “the president acted like — and had the understanding of — a ‘fifth or sixth grader.’”

Mattis has denied these claims earlier this month, according to The Hill.

“The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence,” Mattis said. “While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility.”

Still, rumors continued to be circulated that Mattis -like many others who have served in the Trump Administration- was on his way out, having allegedly lost favor with the 45th President of the United States.

Mattis addressed this issue on Tuesday, hoping to bring it to an end- once and for all.

“How many times have we been through this, now, just since I’ve been here?” he asked with a tone of frustration. “It will die down soon, and the people who started the rumor will be allowed to write the next rumor, too. I wouldn’t take it seriously at all.”

The Washington Times reported that the legendary retired Marine general referred to such “reports” as coming from a “chatty class” of Washington elites willing to be “sources,” willing to collaborate with eager journalists in an effort to comment on the current administration.

“Somebody cooks up a headline,” Mattis said. “They then call to a normally chatty class of people. They find a couple of other things to put in. They add the rumors… Next thing you know, you’ve got a story.”

Despite dismissals by many as to the authenticity of Woodward’s claims, Fear has resulted in over 1.1 million copies sold in the first week, making it the biggest first-week seller in publisher Simon & Schuster’s 94-year history.

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