President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he "essentially fired" former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, which is an interesting way of characterizing the moment on Dec. 20 when Mattis literally walked into the Oval Office and handed the president a letter of resignation.
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, update reporters on the effort to defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria during a joint news conference at the Pentagon, May 19, 2017. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sent a farewell message to all Department of Defense employees on Monday, instructing them to "keep the faith in our country and hold fast" at such a difficult time.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis greets U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after arriving at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2017. (DOD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)
On New Year's Eve, a short phone call will mark the end of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' tenure and the beginning of Patrick Shanahan's command of the Pentagon.
The incoming House Armed Services Committee Chairman on Wednesday blasted President Donald Trump over his decision to remove Defense Secretary Jim Mattis from his post earlier than originally planned, saying it "unnecessarily places the United States in a riskier position."