Los Angeles Times

Mattis issues rebuke to Trump as he announces departure as defense chief

WASHINGTON - Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis told President Donald Trump on Thursday that he will resign in February, handing the president a strongly worded two-page letter that in effect rebuked the president for his military policies and lack of respect for allies.

Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general, went to the White House on Thursday afternoon to try to persuade Trump to reconsider his plan to pull all U.S. troops out Syria, a decision the secretary had strongly opposed before the president announced it on Twitter on Wednesday.

When Trump refused to yield, Mattis quit in protest and handed over a resignation letter that made clear his disapproval of parts of the president's military policy and behavior. A White House aide said the decision for Mattis to leave was "made jointly."

Mattis' looming departure ends a tenure at the Pentagon marked by repeated private clashes with the president that left the retired general steadily more isolated from the White House even as U.S. forces remain involved in wars overseas.

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