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Trump Pushes Mattis Out Early, Names New Defense Secretary

Trump Pushes Mattis Out Early, Names New Defense Secretary
Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, left, speaks next to Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, during a news conference on the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review at the Pentagon, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sunday, 23 December 2018 11:56 AM

Reportedly angry at the publicity that U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis was getting over his resignation letter, President Trump suddenly named a new defense secretary Sunday morning, ensuring that Mattis will leave months early.

"I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!" Trump tweeted.

The move comes just three days after Mattis resigned in protest over Trump's decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria. Mattis originally said he would stay through February to ensure an orderly transition.

Shanahan is a former Boeing Co. executive who joined the administration in 2017. Trump reportedly likes him in part because he often tells the president that he is correct to complain about the high expense of the new generation of defense systems.

Trump also revealed that he had talked with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the state of ISIS in Syria.

"I just had a long and productive call with President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey," Trump tweeted. "We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area. After many years they are coming home. We also discussed heavily expanded Trade."

A Syrian war monitor and Turkish media said Sunday that Turkey is massing troops near a town in northern Syria held by a U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led force.

Turkey said it would delay a promised offensive in Syria following Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops.

But Erdogan has vowed to dislodge the Kurdish fighters, who Turkey views as an extension of the insurgency within its borders. The U.S. had partnered with the Syrian Kurdish militia to drive out the Islamic State group.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the reinforcements were sent to the front line with Manbij, where U.S. troops have been based. The Turkish IHA news agency reported Sunday that a convoy of Turkish troops had been sent into Syria overnight, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier Sunday, The New York Times reported that Trump was enraged over the publicity and news coverage Mattis and his pointed resignation letter was receiving.

"Aides said that the president was furious that Mr. Mattis’s resignation letter — in which he rebuked the president’s rejection of international allies and his failure to check authoritarian governments — had led to days of negative news coverage. Mr. Mattis resigned in large part over Mr. Trump’s hasty decision to withdraw American forces from Syria," the Times reported.

Trump evidently grew more displeased with Mattis' letter over the weekend, posting on Saturday that he "gave [Mattis] a second chance" after Obama "ingloriously" fired him from his post as leader of the United States Central Command. "Allies are very important," Trump wrote, "but not when they take advantage of U.S."

Trump was also castigated by French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday.

"I very deeply regret the decision made on Syria," Macron said during a news conference in Chad.

"To be allies is to fight shoulder to shoulder. It's the most important thing for a head of state and head of the military," he said. "An ally should be dependable."

Material from Reuters was used in this story.


 

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Reportedly angry at the publicity that Defense Secretary James Mattis was getting over his resignation letter, President Trump suddenly named a new defense secretary Sunday morning, ensuring that Mattis will leave months early."I am pleased to announce that our very...
trump, names, new, defense, secretary, mattis, leaves, early
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2018-56-23
Sunday, 23 December 2018 11:56 AM
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