On Thursday, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins broke down the White House's efforts to clean up the political mess caused by former Defense Secretary James Mattis' criticism.
"The White House is struggling to deal with the fallout today after President Trump's former defense secretary accused him of dividing the nation in a time of crisis," said Collins. "Breaking his silence after retiring in protests, retired four-star Marine General James Mattis says Trump 'does not even pretend to try to bring Americans together ... we are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.'"
"The White House ignored Mattis' criticism and instead hit him for saying that the protests are being upended by a small number of lawbreakers," said Collins, playing a clip of White House press official Hogan Gidley saying, "It's obvious the general doesn't have a clue what's going on in the American cities out there, or worse, turned a blind eye to it."
"Sources say Mattis' condemnation of Trump could have consequences," said Collins. "He is widely revered by both parties and he's not the only former top military official denouncing Trump. Marine General John Allen said he was stunned by Trump's photo-op outside of a church Monday ... the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said he was 'sickened' to see the protesters cleared out of the way and couldn't stay silent any longer. Even the president's former chief of staff John Kelly is pushing back on him today, disputing his claim that he fired Mattis: 'He did not ask for his resignation. The president has clearly forgot how it happened or is confused.'"
"Most Republicans are trying to avoid commenting on what Mattis said," continued Collins. "But today, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski called his rebuke 'necessary and overdue.' She says she is struggling whether to support the president in November."