Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose experience and stability were widely seen as a balance to an unpredictable president, resigned on Thursday in protest of President Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria and his rejection of international alliances.
Mr. Mattis had repeatedly told friends and aides over recent months that he viewed his responsibility to protect the United States’ 1.3 million active-duty troops as worth the concessions necessary as defence secretary to a mercurial president.
But on Thursday, in an extraordinary rebuke of the president, he decided that Trump’s decision to withdraw roughly 2,000 American troops from Syria was a step too far, reports New York Times.
Officials said Mr. Mattis went to the White House with his resignation letter already written, but nonetheless made a last attempt at persuading the president to reverse his decision about Syria, which Trump announced on Wednesday over the objections of his senior advisers.
Mr. Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general, was rebuffed. Returning to the Pentagon, he asked aides to print out 50 copies of his resignation letter and distribute them around the building.
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held,” Mr. Mattis wrote.
“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defence whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
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