NPR

Defense Secretary Mattis Resigns Amid Syria And Afghanistan Tension

The retired Marine general had been granted a rare waiver to run the Pentagon as he had been out of uniform for only three years, but his relationship with President Trump eventually turned cold.

Updated at 10:45 p.m. ET

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a living Marine Corps legend who made history by securing special permission from Congress to lead the Pentagon, is stepping down after a slow freeze-out by President Trump.

Drift between the two men reached a point at which Mattis objected so strongly to the president's policy choices that he opted to resign rather than go along.

The final break appeared to be over major withdrawals of American forces from Syria and Afghanistan, which Trump ordered over the objections of his national security advisers, including Mattis.

The president announced via Twitter Thursday evening that Mattis was retiring in February. Shortly after, the Pentagon released a letter of resignation from Mattis to Trump.

"General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years,".

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