Former Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday that "no democracy can survive" as long as the United States remained "locked in this election cycle."
"In the old days, when the election was over we buried the hatchet and we got down to governing," Mattis told Christiane Amanpour on CNN. "It's like today all we stay in is locked in this election cycle, and we're constantly finding reasons not to cooperate — and no democracy can survive that style."
Mattis, 68, resigned as defense secretary in December — serving nearly two years — after President Donald Trump announced an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Syria. The policy has since been reversed.
He is currently promoting his new book, "Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead," which was released Tuesday.
At a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York, Mattis said he would comment on the White House's defense strategy and policies "when the time's right."
"There will come a time when I speak out on strategic issues, policy issues, that I do not have a question about, but I need to give some period of time to those that have to carry out the responsibilities to protect this country in a very, very difficult age," Mattis said, The Hill reports.
"When the time comes — I'll know it when it's right, I can't tell you; I can't tell myself, I'm not keeping a secret — when the time's right to speak out about policy and strategy, I'll speak out."
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