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‘I’m the Meryl Streep of generals’ — Mattis hits back at Trump for calling him the 'world's most overrated general'
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis decided to take on President Donald Trump's reported assertion that he is "overrated" at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City on Thursday.
"I'm not just an overrated general, I am the greatest — the world's most — overrated," Mattis said at the event, which raises money for charity.
"I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress," Mattis said. "So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals ... and frankly that sounds pretty good to me. And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we've had some victories."
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
Buried in former Defense Secretary James Mattis' essay in the Wall Street Journal is a leadership lesson that sounds an awful lot like a veiled criticism of President Donald Trump's tendency to bully subordinates in person and on social media.
While the retired Marine general does not dwell on his decision to resign last December in protest over Trump's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Syria, which the commander-in-chief later reversed. Instead, Mattis opted to reiterate what he wrote in his resignation letter about the importance of treating allies with respect.
Nearly two weeks after he submitted his resignation letter, former Defense Secretary James Mattis has officially left the Pentagon. The building already feels like a less lethal place.
The legendary Marine general has been replaced by former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan, who has a reputation for being able to solve complicated problems. (As the Pentagon's space guy, he is also the defense official whom your friendly Pentagon correspondent once asked if Space Force needed a Starfleet Academy and rifle squads to "seek out and destroy other lifeforms.")