President Donald J Trump continues to alienate supporters of former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, claiming he “essentially” fired the retired Marine General and criticizing American military leadership during his first Cabinet meeting of the year.
When asked about the topic of the still-ongoing Afghanistan conflict, President Trump criticized Mattis’s approach to the conflict, claiming nothing good has come from stepping up operations funding for the region.
“Gen. Mattis was so thrilled,” Trump said of the funding. “But what’s he done for me? How’s he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. Not too good. I’m not too happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan, and I shouldn’t be happy.”
President Trump then said that Mattis, who resigned before Trump relieved him and replaced him with Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, was “essentially” fired for being a lackluster Defense Secretary.
“I wish him well. I hope he does well,” Trump said. “But as you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I.”
Mattis was relieved of his position as head of Central Command by former President Barrack Obama in 2013.
President Trump then recalled a conversation with generals concerning a certain territory currently being disputed over by ISIS and the Taliban.
“I said, ‘Why don’t you let them fight? Why are we getting in the middle of it?’ ” Trump said. “They’re both our enemies. Let them fight … I think I would’ve been a good general, but who knows.”
According to The Hill, the president praised the acting secretary of defense, claiming he’s done well to keep him updated on efforts to lock down the border.
“You have done really, in particular, you have done a fantastic job,” Trump said of Shanahan.
The selection of Mattis was rather popular with US troops and citizens alike, prompting a wave of social media memes and Mattis-related merchandise.
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