Donald Trump: I Should Have Fired Jim Mattis Sooner

US President Donald Trump (L) and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (3rd L) mark Memorial Day by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018 (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty

President Donald Trump disparaged his former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday after he voiced his opposition to the president’s foreign policy.

“That says it all about Mattis,” Trump said, sharing a story highlighting the former general’s criticism of President Trump’s “America First” agenda. “Obama fired him. I should have fired him sooner.”

Mattis teamed up with three other authors for a co-bylined essay in Foreign Affairs magazine denouncing Trump’s agenda.

“In practice, ‘America first’ has meant ‘America alone,'” they wrote. “That has damaged the country’s ability to address problems before they reach U.S. territory and has thus compounded the danger emergent threats pose.”

The essay posited “Not even the United States is strong enough to protect itself on its own” and urged a future “President Joe Biden” to heal global alliances and eliminate the idea of “America First.”

Mattis was also critical of Trump’s attempt to end the “forever wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“To dismiss U.S. involvement today in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere as ‘endless’ or ‘forever’ wars … rather than as support to friendly governments struggling to exert control over their own territory misses the point,” the essay read.

The essay was also critical of Trump’s tough position on China.

“A ‘with us or against us’ approach plays to China’s advantage, because the economic prosperity of U.S. allies and partners hinges on strong trade and investment relationships with Beijing,” it read.

Trump appointed the famous general as the Secretary of Defense, clearly enchanted by his tough demeanor and “Mad Dog Mattis” mythology in the Marine Corps.

Mattis, however, defied Trump’s instincts on foreign policy and ultimately parted ways with the administration over the president’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria in December 2018.

“Did best work after he was gone,” Trump wrote. “World’s most overrated general!”

Since leaving the administration, Mattis became an even sharper critic of the president after he used the military to quell violent protests in Lafayette Square near the White House.

“We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square,” he said in a statement to The Atlantic. “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

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