President Donald Trump tweeted on June 3, 2020 that he and former President Barack Obama actually do have something in common – they both fired former Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis.
Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was “Chaos”, which I didn’t like, & changed to “Mad Dog”…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020
Disagreements Over Syria Lead to the End
Mattis was removed from his position as head of Central Command while working under the Obama administration due to his aggressive stance towards Iran. When he was working under the Trump administration as Secretary of Defense, Mattis wanted to retain American troops in Syria, while President Trump did not. According to Mattis, this was what lead to him tendering his resignation in Dec. 2018.
“Because you have the right to a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects,” Mattis wrote in a 2018 letter, “I believe it is right for me to step down from this position.”
Mattis was supposed to stay on through February, but the president ordered him to leave the position on Jan. 1, 2020, the New York Times reported.
“As you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I,” Trump said in Jan. 2019 during a cabinet meeting.
The president criticized Mattis’ work in Afghanistan, saying, “What’s he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan, and I shouldn’t be happy.”
Mattis Blasts Trump Over Protests
Their relationship deteriorated even further when Mattis blasted Trump for his response to George Floyd protests in Washington, D.C., in a scathing article in The Atlantic.
“The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation,” Mattis said. “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
Violence and terror created by rioters and protesters has consumed many parts of the country since the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25, 2020.
Riots Wreak Havoc on D.C. – Leaving Mattis’ Points Mute
Rioters have set buildings ablaze and vandalized businesses throughout Washington, D.C., and many other cities across the United States.
The AFL-CIO headquarters a block north of the White House has been ransacked. There’s a fire in the lobby, all the windows are smashed and I can hear sprinklers going off. DC Fire haven’t been able to come anywhere near this area. pic.twitter.com/kpw1Jqgfgt
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) June 1, 2020
“Protesters in the nation’s capital breached the complex of the Treasury Department and spray painted the area,” CNN reported. “Some of the protesters were briefly detained by the U.S. Secret Service but eventually let go.”
Mattis Claims Trump is a Divider
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis continued to write. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”
The rocky relationship between Trump and Mattis has continued since Mattis’ departure from the Trump administration. Mattis’ time under Obama ended on a bad note as well. It may be the only thing Trump and Obama will ever have in common.