I am saddened but not shocked to hear the news that rocketed out of Washington, D.C. today. Defense Secretary James Mattis has resigned.
What is astonishing is the tone of the resignation letter Mattis sent to the president of the United States. He calls out the commander in chief for his failure to be more “resolute” in his approach to Russia and China. He also tears into the president for his treatment of our geopolitical allies and then declares that Trump has the right to have a defense secretary whose views “align” more with the president.
Mattis’s views do not, as the letter makes clear.
This is a serious blow to the defense of our nation. Mattis is a serious man, a retired Marine Corps four-star general, a man who has seen combat. He is a patriot, a warrior a student of foreign policy.
That this man would resign effective Feb. 28, just after the second year of the Trump administration, is stunning enough. That he would call out the commander in chief, who makes foreign and defense policy decisions on impulse and whim, is utterly breathtaking in its scope.
One more takeaway from the letter: Mattis does not express gratitude for serving the president. He does express pride in serving the men and women in uniform and for serving the nation he loves.
Will any of this register in any tangible manner with the commander in chief? I wouldn’t bet my last dollar on it.