It’s ‘Secretary,’ not ‘General’ Mattis, Mr. President

I am going to quibble briefly over something I keep hearing from Donald J. Trump.

The president keeps referring to the secretary of defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, by his former title. He once was a Marine four-star general. He’s a combat veteran who’s quite proud of his service to the country. I happen to be a fan of “Mad Dog” Mattis.

However, he’s no longer in the Marine Corps. Yeah, yeah. I know: Once a Marine, always a Marine. Blah, blah, blah.

He is a civilian. I want the president to refer to James Mattis as “Secretary Mattis,” which would reflect the principle of civilian control of the U.S. military.

Trump recently made the reference while discussing the deployment of National Guard troops along our southern border.

“Mad Dog” Mattis no longer wears a uniform to work, Mr. President. He wears suits and ties, just like you do.

So, please refer to him by his current title of “Secretary” Mattis.

There. Quibble over.

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