President Trump on Wednesday sharply criticized James Mattis after the former Defense secretary broke his silence and condemned the president’s handling of nationwide protests in a fiery statement.
Trump called Mattis the “world’s most overrated general” and swiped at his leadership capabilities, claiming that the retired four-star Marine general’s strength was not his military prowess “but rather personal public relations.”
“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,’” the president tweeted Wednesday evening.
“His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom ‘brought home the bacon’. I didn’t like his “leadership” style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!” Trump continued.
The tweets followed former Trump administration official’s criticism of the president in a statement in The Atlantic, accusing him of dividing the nation and ordering the U.S. military to violate the constitutional rights of Americans protesting the death of George Floyd in police custody and, more widely, police brutality and racial inequality.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try,” Mattis wrote. “Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”
Mattis also served in the Defense Department under former President Obama, and was Trump’s first defense secretary and resigned in December 2018, clashing with the president over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. Mattis had largely bipartisan among members of Congress of both parties and GOP leaders expressed regret over his dismissal at the time.