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Trump says he would have made a ‘good general’ while trashing Mattis



President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he essentially “fired” former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, criticizing the outgoing defense chief’s service in the Marine Corps and his two years leading the Defense Department.

“What’s he done for me? How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good,” Trump said at a Cabinet meeting, according to Bloomberg News. “As you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I,” he explained to reporters, contradicting an earlier statement.

“I think I would’ve been a good general, but who knows,” the president, who has not served in the military and sought deferments to avoid being sent to Vietnam, further remarked.

Plans for Mattis to step down as the defense secretary were first announced in a presidential tweet that said the revered former Marine general was retiring.

Mattis actually resigned over policy differences with the president, according to the former secretary’s resignation letter. “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours …, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw from Syria was reportedly the final straw for Mattis, leaving the remainder of the ISIS fight to Turkey and the Kurdish fighters the US military has partnered with, whom Turkey has seen as a threat.

While Mattis was initially expected to serve until the end of February, the president decided to force him out early, tweeting that Patrick Shanahan, previously the deputy secretary of defense, would take over as acting secretary of defense on Jan. 1, which he did.

In a string of tweets on New Year’s Eve, Trump trashed “failed generals” who dared to criticize his policy decisions, a shot at retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal in particular.

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