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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Unexpectedly Resigns Following Major Military Decisions in the Middle East

  • Kayla Koslosky

    Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket …

  • 2018 Dec 21

United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made an unexpected announcement late Thursday night informing America that he would be leaving the White House in the new year. 

Mattis, who is a retired four-star general, was nearly-unanimously voted into the President’s Cabinet following Trump’s inauguration. 

The highly respected cabinet member offered the president his resignation following two major military decisions that he seemingly did not agree with. On Wednesday, President Trump announced that the U.S. had defeated ISIS in Syria and that he would be withdrawing all U.S. troops from the Middle Eastern country. According to NPR, Trump also announced that he would be decreasing the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan by almost half. 

Many, including Mattis’ close friend Retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, who recommended Mattis for the defense secretary job, are speculating that these two major decisions were factors that played into Mattis’ decision to resign. 

In his resignation letter, the four-star General made it clear that his views no longer aligned with the president's. He wrote, “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held."

He continued, "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."

Mattis will leave the White House at the end of February 2019.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Win McNamee/Staff