Donald Trump on James Mattis

Donald Trump on General and Former Defense Secretary James Mattis


2017 - Dec 20, 2018
Dec 22, 2018 - 2020

Donald Trump on Michael Cohen Then
Donald Trump on Michael Cohen Now

#DonaldTrump 11/20/16: "General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis…A true General’s General!" » #Trump 2/3/19: "I wasn’t happy with his service…He resigned because I was very nice to him." Click To Tweet

Donald Trump on General and Former Defense Secretary James Mattis


2017 - Dec 20, 2018

Donald Trump on Michael Cohen Then
“General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General’s General!”
“I met with General Mattis, who is a very respected guy. In fact, I met with a number of other generals, they say he’s the finest there is. He is being seriously, seriously considered for secretary of defense, which is — I think it’s time maybe, it’s time for a general… General Mattis is a strong, highly dignified man… he’s known as being like the toughest guy… You know he’s known as Mad Dog Mattis, right? Mad Dog for a reason.”
- Nov 22, 2016

New York Times, Nov 23, 2016
Donald Trump’s New York Times Interview: Full Transcript

(retrieved 2/10/19)
“I will not tell you that one of our great, great generals — don’t let it outside of this room. We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our secretary of defense… He’s great. They say he’s the closest thing to Gen. George Patton that we have and it’s about time. It’s about time.”
- Dec 1, 2016

Post-election rally in Cincinnati

Politico, Dec 1, 2016
Trump picks General 'Mad Dog' Mattis as defense secretary

(retrieved 2/11/19)
“I have a very good relationship with him. It could be that he is [leaving]. I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you wanna know the truth. But General Mattis is a good guy. We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves.”
- Oct 11, 2018
“General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years. During Jim’s tenure, tremendous progress has been made, especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting equipment. General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations. A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!”

#DonaldTrump 11/22/16: "Mattis…I met with a number of other generals, they say he’s the finest there is." » #Trump 1/2/19: "I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan, and I shouldn’t be." Click To Tweet


Dec 22, 2018 - 2020

Donald Trump on Michael Cohen Now
“When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should. Interesting relationship-but I also gave all of the resources that he never really had. Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S.”
“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!”
“We are substantially subsidizing the Militaries of many VERY rich countries all over the world, while at the same time these countries take total advantage of the U.S., and our TAXPAYERS, on Trade. General Mattis did not see this as a problem. I DO, and it is being fixed!”
“What’s he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan, and I shouldn’t be happy… As you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I.”
Jan 2, 2019 -

New York Times, Jan 2, 2019
Trump Says Mattis Resignation Was ‘Essentially’ a Firing, Escalating His New Front Against Military Critics

(retrieved 2/13/19)
quote starts at beginning
“I wasn’t happy with Mattis. I told Mattis to give me a letter. He didn’t just give me that letter. I told him. And you could have seen that on ’60 Minutes.’ I did ’60 Minutes’ and Lesley Stahl asked me a question: ‘What do you think of General Mattis?’ And I said let me be generous. But I just — I didn’t like the job he was doing. I wasn’t happy with it. I wasn’t happy with the — I got him more money than the military has ever seen before. And I wasn’t happy with the job that he was doing at all. And I said it’s time. That’s why in the letter he wrote, ‘You have to have your own choice.’ The reason he said that was because I said, ‘You’re just not my choice.'”
Jan 31, 2019 -

New York Times, Feb 1, 2019
Excerpts From Trump’s Interview With The Times

(retrieved 2/1/19)
“General Mattis, I wasn’t happy with his service. I told him give me a letter… He resigned because I asked him to resign. He resigned because I was very nice to him. But I gave him big budgets and he didn’t do well in Afghanistan. I was not happy with the job he was doing in Afghanistan. And if you look at Syria what’s happened, I went to Iraq recently, if you look at Syria, what’s happened in Syria in the last few weeks, you would see that things are going down that were not going down. That things are happening that are very good. So I was not happy with him, but I wish him well.”
Feb 3, 2019 -
“[Mattis is] the world’s most overrated general. You know why? He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take two years. I captured them in one month.”
Oct 16, 2019 -

New York Times, Oct 16, 2019
Inside the Derailed White House Meeting

(retrieved 10/17/19)
“Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was ‘Chaos’, which I didn’t like, & changed to ‘Mad Dog’. His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom ‘brought home the bacon’. I didn’t like his ‘leadership’ style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!”
“The problem with asking for someone to give you a letter of resignation, which you do as a courtesy to help them save face, is that it is then harder to say you fired them. I did fire James Mattis. He was no good for Obama, who fired him also, and was no good for me!”
“Mattis was our Country’s most overrated General. He talked a lot, but never ‘brought home the bacon.’ He was terrible! Someday I will tell the real story on him and others – both good and bad!”

#Trump 12/1/16: "❲James Mattis is❳ one of our great, great generals…They say he’s the closest thing to Gen. George Patton that we have." » #Trump 1/2/19: "Obama fired him and essentially so did I." Click To Tweet


On Dec 20, 2018, Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned, a day after Donald Trump‘s plans to withdraw troops from Syria became public.1CNN, Dec 21, 2019
READ: James Mattis’ resignation letter
retrieved 2/13/19
In his resignation letter Mattis said he would step down on February 28, 2019. In the wake of Mattis’ resignation letter, which was critical of Trump’s foreign policy, Trump forced Mattis step down two months early.

Here is General Mattis’ resignation letter in full:2CNN, Dec 21, 2019
READ: James Mattis’ resignation letter
retrieved 2/13/19

Dear Mr. President:

I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.

I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO‘s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense 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. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability Within the Department.

I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.

#DonaldTrump 11/22/16: "General Mattis is a strong, highly dignified man…You know he’s known as Mad Dog Mattis, right?" » #Trump 10/11/18: "I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you wanna know the truth." Click To Tweet