Despite rumors President Donald Trump might be considering changing his Defense Secretary, James Mattis, on the heels of Mattis' reported comments in Bob Woodward's book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," no change is imminent nor is dissension apparent.
"Even if this does affect [President Trump's] relationship with Mattis, it won't be a fatal blow," Brookings Institution defense expert Michael O'Hanlon told The Hill. "The role of Jim Mattis and this government is absolutely crucial and literally matter of war and peace for our nation in some situations."
Mattis was one of the Trump administration officials to issue a statement after the op-ed, and the president thanked Mattis for the "nicest quote about me."
"I did appreciate his statement," Trump said, per The Hill. "He didn't have to write that statement. But I did appreciate it."
O'Hanlon told The Hill that President Trump needs to either trust Mattis' public denial or take his reported remarks "in a more lighthearted way."
"But of course it takes a lot of hopefulness to offer that perspective because Trump's not known for forgiveness or for lightheartedness or for his sense of humor," O'Hanlon told The Hill. "And he is known for bearing a grudge, so I think you have to be worried at some level."
Democrats, of course, are concerned – with anything and everything they can seize on in a midterm election year.
"I'm worried every day, even before the book," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told The Hill. "[Mattis is] a critical part, not only of our national defense but the stability of our country."
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