Hoping that Mattis stays put

This news is distressing in the extreme.

The one individual serving in the Donald J. Trump administration that I want to stay might be calling it a day. Defense Secretary James Mattis reportedly, allegedly, supposedly is on the bubble.

He might bail from the administration. It has been reported that the defense boss is unhappy with the commander in chief. Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear,” attributes some unkind remarks from the retired Marine Corps general about the president.

He has opposed Trump’s policy pronouncements, such as the one that bans transgender troops from serving in the military. Mattis also believes the U.S. pullout from the Paris climate accord is a mistake. And, as Woodward reported in “Fear,” Mattis had to explain to the president that the presence of 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea is intended to “prevent World War III.”

I will refrain from attaching the “Mad Dog” nickname to Mattis; he reportedly hates the term, so I won’t use it other than to refer to it.

Mattis is a grownup. He is a tested combat veteran who knows full well the consequences of war.

He is mature. He is reasonable. He is measured.

Mattis is precisely the kind of presence that Donald Trump needs close to him in times of crisis.

And, so what if James Mattis is “sort of a Democrat,” as Trump has said? Defense policy should be far removed from partisan politics.

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