According to a report at Politico, Democrats, Republicans and Pentagon officials are concerned that Donald Trump will dump Defense Secretary Jim Mattis after the midterms leading to a loss of man who has restrained the president’s worse impulses about the use of American might.
As rumors circulate that Trump is unhappy with Mattis and is waiting for the right moment to force him out, insiders are praising him for stopping tyhe “bombastic’ Trump from creating chaos outside the U.S. as a show of his personal strength.
“Secretary Mattis is one of the only reassuring figures in the Trump administration, and I don’t mean that as a Democratic partisan,” explained Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) of the Appropriations Committee’s defense panel. “I mean when our partners and our adversaries think about the United States and the Department of Defense, knowing that Secretary Mattis is there strengthens our hand.”
Politico reports “Mattis was instrumental in pulling back on Trump’s vow to ‘carpet bomb’ ISIS or pull troops from Afghanistan. He moderated the U.S. military response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons and openly opposed Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal.”
With Mattis out of the way, officials worry Trump will go choose a hardliner to replace him in much the same way he pushed out National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and replaced him with the saber-rattling John Bolton.
Of greater worry is that Mattis will leave at the same time as Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford who is preparing to retire.
“If he leaves, you inject a whole issue of uncertainty,” remarked Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) the senior Democrat on the Armed Services panel “Who’s going to succeed him?”
“Secretary Mattis and Gen. Dunford are the real pillars of protecting American national security right now,” added Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). “Either of them going, I think, would be extremely damaging to American defense and the credibility of our national security team.”
Some in the Pentagon believe Mattis’s fate is already sealed despite concerns.
“POTUS is getting rid of him after midterms,” said an anonymous military official with knowledge of internal White House deliberations “It’s something they’ve wanted to do for a while. They weren’t going to do it before midterms.”
“Mattis has executed his own foreign policy,” the official added. “He was able to get away with it by partnering with Tillerson and making McMaster irrelevant. Now with Pompeo and Bolton in, the jig is up.”
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