Donald Trump: I ‘Essentially Fired’ Jim Mattis — ‘Dissatisfied’ with Progress on Afghanistan

The Associated Press
CHARLIE SPIERING

President Donald Trump defended his decision to fire his Defense Secretary Gen. Jim Mattis, saying he was not pleased with progress on the war in Afghanistan.

“Well, what’s he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. Not too good. I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan,” Trump said. “And I shouldn’t be happy.”

Trump said that he did a lot to get hundreds of billions of dollars for Mattis to rebuild the United States military but got nothing from Mattis in return.

“I hope he does well. But as you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I,” Trump said. “I want results.”
The president defended his decision to leave Syria, a decision that drove Mattis to send Trump a letter of resignation. Despite Mattis setting his departure date for February, Trump asked for it to be sooner.

“Syria was lost long ago. It was lost long ago and besides that — we’re talking about sand and death,” Trump said.

He pointed to visits with wounded soldiers from the Middle East at Walter Reed military hospital.

“I don’t want that and I want to rebuild our country, and I want to spend money on our military without depleting it every day,” he said.

Trump said he would continue to pull troops from Syria and the Middle East, despite his support for the Kurds, who teamed up with the United States to fight Islamic State terrorists.

“We want to protect the Kurds. But I don’t want to be in Syria forever. It’s sand and it’s death,” he said.

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