U.S. Defense Secretary quits over differences with Trump

Dec 21, 2018, 3:32 AM EST
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis’ resignation
(Source: James N. Mattis/flickr)

A day after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the abrupt withdrawal of American troops from Syria, Defense Secretary James Mattis submitted his letter of resignation from the office, pointing his differences with the president over policy matters.

Trump broke the news in a tweet, saying that the general will “retire,” in an apparent attempt to give a spin to a plain and simple “protest resignation,” writes the BBC. The timing of the resignation, immediately after the Syria pull-out decision, and Gen Mattis’ unrestrained support for a U.S. network of alliances leave no doubt that his departure stems from stark differences with Trump.

Gen Mattis’ resignation opened a barrage of criticism, with former defense officials calling on the Republican Party to constraint an “erratic and acerbic” Trump, notes The Guardian. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, issued an “uncharacteristically stern” statement on the development, saying that he was “distressed” with Gen Mattis' resignation.