“Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!”
Trump initially praised Mattis in a tweet announcing his departure, saying that he was retiring “with distinction” and that “during Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made.”
But Trump changed tone two days later, writing on Twitter that he had given Mattis a “second chance” after he was “ingloriously” fired by former president Barack Obama, and appearing to take aim at a line from the Pentagon chief’s resignation letter about respecting allies.
“Allies are very important – but not when they take advantage of U.S.,” Trump wrote.
The announcement that Mattis would leave the administration came just after Trump stunned Washington and allies abroad in declaring that U.S. troops would leave Syria and significantly withdraw from Afghanistan.
Mattis and others had strongly counseled the often-impulsive president against those moves – and the decorated retired general did little to hide his disagreement with Trump.