When former Defense Secretary James Mattis announced his resignation in December 2018, many Never Trump conservatives lamented the departure of someone they saw as a voice of reason and sanity in the Trump Administration. Those Never Trumpers were anxious to hear what a post-White House Mattis had to say in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd that aired on “Meet the Press” Sunday. But conservative Washington Post writer and Trump critic Jennifer Rubin, in her October 14 column, stresses that she wishes Mattis were speaking more “candidly” and frankly about his time in the White House and President Donald Trump’s foreign policy decisions.
During the interview, Todd asked Mattis to weigh in on, among other things, the Ukraine scandal. And Rubin found his comments much too vague.
“If Mattis is willing to testify under oath, why is he not willing to speak candidly when not under oath?,” Rubin asserts. “A witness to an ordinary crime who agrees to speak only under subpoena at trial but not to assist in the investigation of the crime is not a moral hero — he is enabling the criminal to escape.”
Rubin would also like to hear Mattis speak more frankly about Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and abandon the Kurdish-led forces who have been guarding captured ISIS prisoners.
“No one is asking him how to vote,” Rubin says of Mattis. “He has a unique perspective on the decision-making ‘process’ at the White House and on Trump’s motives for abandoning the Kurds — which he tried doing previously, and which precipitated Mattis’ resignation. At a time when the American people desperately need to hear all available facts from credible sources, it is not helpful to withhold that information.”
Rubin wraps up her column by emphasizing that she also wants to hear a lot more frank comments from other ex-members of the Trump Administration, including former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, his successor John Bolton and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“Mattis’ performance leaves one flummoxed and frustrated,” Rubin laments. “Perhaps House chairs can relieve him of the self-imposed oath of silence by subpoenaing him to testify — in public. It is time we heard from him, from former national security advisers John Bolton and McMaster and from former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson…. It’s time to lay it all out for the American people.”