Mattis sends last Christmas message to troops before resigning

Mattis sends last Christmas message to troops before resigning

Mattis sends last Christmas message to troops before resigning

Mattis announced his resignation after Trump ordered the withdrawal of US forces from Syria against the advice of the retired Marine general.

A states he is stepping down so that Trump can hire a defense secretary who has views more in line with the president's own.

Once Mattis' resignation letter hit the media, offering an eloquent argument in favor of the diplomatic norms established through US foreign policy in past decades and indirectly accusing Trump of losing sight of allies in favor of friendly ties with adversaries, one could argue that the president's hands were tied.

In the resignation letter, James Mattis said he planned on staying until the end of February to ensure a permeant replacement could be chosen and to attend a previously scheduled North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting. But U.S. officials said that the fallout of his decision to leave - including the shock and dismay expressed on Capitol Hill - annoyed Trump and likely led to Mattis leaving earlier than planned. "I DO, and it is being fixed!" he wrote.

McGurk's resignation, effective December 31, comes on the heels of Mattis's decision to quit the Trump administration over key disagreements with the USA president, notably the Syria withdrawal.

Despite the falling out, the Pentagon said on Monday that Mattis authorised Trump's withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, one of the decisions that helped trigger his resignation.

"To those few Senators who think I don't like or appreciate being allied with other countries, they are wrong, I DO", Trump also tweeted.

But he said that "these same countries take advantage of their friendship with the United States".

He's criticised Mattis for not recognising the true costs of America's military support to its allies.

Critics argue that the decision could undercut USA leverage in the region and undermine diplomatic efforts to the end the Syrian civil war, now in its eighth year.

The State Department was not immediately available for comment due to the partial USA government shutdown.

Trump confirmed Mattis' exit in a tweet on Thursday, just a day after announcing he would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

Trump has come under withering criticism from fellow Republicans, Democrats and global allies over his decisions about Syria and Afghanistan, against the advice of his top aides and United States commanders.

In typical fashion, Trump said Saturday that the media was treating him unfairly over the Syria withdrawal decision.

There, he said he has "no plans at all" to withdraw troops from the country.

As Mattis put it in his forceful and to the point resignation letter, 'My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.

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