Conservative pundit Bill Kristol told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the retirement of Defense Secretary James Mattis sends a “chilling” message about the decision-making process inside the White House.
The retired U.S. Marine Corps general sent a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump and his foreign policy in his letter announcing his decision to leave the administration, and Kristol said the departure was a big deal.
“It so dwarfs everything else that’s happening right now,” Kristol said.
Kristol said the Mattis retirement came as a surprise to the military and the secretary’s own friends, even after Trump made the unexpected decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria.
“I spoke with a retired general just a couple days ago who is close to Mattis and discreet about his conversations with Mattis, but has been in touch with Mattis throughout,” Kristol said. “He said he’s going to hang in there, Jim really thinks it’s important for the country. Jim doesn’t have a big ego, but he thinks he’s there, he think he’s doing good. He will take a lot of blows and hang in there to prevent worse things from happening.”
Kristol said his decision to retire shows that he no longer believes he can do good inside the White House.
“For me the resignation is so important because it’s not simply that he’s disgusted about the Syria decision or disappointed by it, though he is, or even appalled by it,” he said. “This means that Mattis thought he could not stop a lot of other bad decisions from happening down the road.”
“Mattis saw what was coming and thought, ‘I can’t make a difference anymore,'” Kristol added. “He has swallowed an awful lot, he has put up with an awful lot. He’s told people he’s going to stay for four years, he told friends of mine that as recently as this month. The fact that Mattis felt he couldn’t do any good anymore, which is what I think that letter suggests, really, for me, is a chilling moment. The fact that he felt he couldn’t stay and do any good is even worse.”
‘Smart rats jump a sinking orange ship’: Columnist predicts more Republicans will flee Trump
New York Times contributing columnist Wajahat Ali predicted that more Republicans would likely flee President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.
Already, Trump's own officials, appointees, and staff are lining up to testify to the House committees, despite Trump saying they will not cooperate with any investigations.
"I believe smart rats jump a sinking orange ship, and if you don't believe me, you haven't paid attention to the last week," Ali told CNN's Don Lemon. In the past week, several of Trump's appointees have lined up to give a deposition or testify. Even outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry revealed in a Wall Street Journal interview, that Rudy Giuliani was to be the point person on all things related to Ukraine.
CNN panel mocks the White House for promoting a photo of Trump looking ‘subservient’ to Pelosi
The White House posted a series of photos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Wednesday after their meeting, showing Pelosi being the only person in the room literally standing up to President Donald Trump. It was an image that baffled the mind of at least one CNN panelist as to why the Trump people would be promoting Pelosi.
According to reports from those who were in the room, the president flew off the handle after Pelosi quipped that it seems all roads lead back to Russia for this president. It was at that point that Trump called Pelosi a "third-grade politician," though presumably, he meant "third-rate," and the meeting broke apart.
Max Boot calls BS on Republicans for trying to claim Syria is Nancy Pelosi’s fault because of impeachment
President Donald Trump is conducting foreign policy like a 1980s television character, according to conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot.
In a panel discussion about the letter Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, Boot mocked Republicans for suddenly trying to claim that Trump's withdrawal from Syria was Speaker Nancy Pelosi's fault because of impeachment. It is unclear if Republicans are confessing the president is too distracted by impeachment to be making foreign policy decisions or if they are blaming Pelosi for military decisions.
"I mean there's a lot of really lame Republican talking points out there, Don," Boot said to CNN host Don Lemon. "But to suggest, as Rep. Liz Cheney and others have done that somehow Trump's inexplicable decision to give the Turks the green light to invade Syria — that was somehow the fault of Nancy Pelosi because of the impeachment process? What?"