Mattis said in his resignation letter that he was stepping down so Trump could have a defense chief whose views align more closely with his own. In a tweet, Trump said, ” 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! “.
Mattis’ departure had been anticipated since US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria despite opposition from U.S. allies and top U.S. military officials.
Mattis joins a long list of former Trump administration senior figures who have either quit or been removed, some unceremoniously like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who Trump fired via Twitter in March.