General Jim Mattis, the United States Secretary of Defense, issued a resignation letter on Thursday. Mattis submitted his resignation one day after President Donald Trump announced American troops would return from Syria.
“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,” Mattis wrote. “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 US global influence.”
Mattis hinted at his reasoning for his resignation. You can read the full letter here.
“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,” he wrote. “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 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.”
United States Senator Joni Ernst reacted on twitter:
“Secretary Mattis gave 40 years of devoted service to the United States and has made a lasting impression on the security of our country; I want to thank him for his service and wish him the best in his retirement.”
United States Senator Charles Grassley responded as well:
“(Secretary) Mattis has been an outstanding (Secretary) of Defense but most of all I want to compliment him for 44 (years) of service in the Marine Corps for his (leadership) there and for the sacrifice he made defending our freedoms.”
President Trump thanked Gen. Mattis for his service.
“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!”