Slowly but increasingly angry over James Mattis‘ strongly worded resignation letter, President Trump is removing the Secretary of Defense earlier than announced. Mattis will be out of the Pentagon on January 1st rather than February 28th, as the retired four-star general had stated in his letter.
Trump has tweeted that Mattis deputy Patrick M. Shanahan will take over as acting defense secretary.
A 12.23 N.Y. Times story by Helene Cooper essentially says that the accelerated departure was announced today because Trump was too stupid to fully understand the import of Mattis’ resignation letter right off the bat. Mattis personally delivered the letter to Trump on 12.20.
“When Mr. Trump first announced that Mr. Mattis was leaving [on] 2.28, he praised the defense secretary on Twitter, saying he was retiring ‘with distinction’,” Cooper reports. “One aide said that although Mr. Trump had already seen the resignation letter when he praised Mr. Mattis, the president did not understand just how forceful a rejection of his strategy Mr. Mattis had issued.”
But “the president has grown increasingly angry as the days have passed,” according to that aide. And today Trump finally said in effect “okay, I can be slow at times, I realize this, and this is why this is only just hitting me…all kinds of bad currents because of that letter so fuck Mattis…he’s out of here in eight days.”