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Trump Finally Goes After Mattis, Days After Defense Secretary Drops Bombshell Resignation Letter
It took three days before President Donald Trump finally went after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. That must be a new record.
On the weekend after Mattis dropped a bombshell of a resignation letter, in which he wrote the president has "the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours" just before he outlined his view that allies should be treated with respect and enemies should not, Trump of course took to Twitter to say he had given Mattis "a second chance."
"When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance," Trump tweeted on Sunday. "Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should. Interesting relationship-but I also gave all of the resources that he never really had. Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S."
Given Trump's past criticism of just about anyone and everyone, this one is fairly mild, but I expect there will be more to come. Still, the subtle dig that Mattis "got a second chance" is worth exploring, since it's patently absurd.
Although Mattis was forced to retire from his post commanding U.S. Central Command in 2013 after a falling out with the Obama administration, he didn't need or want a second chance when President Trump came along in 2016.
Mattis was doing just fine in the post-military world, serving on a number of boards, consulting and doing speaking gigs, and teaching classes at Stanford University.
Not counting Mattis' annual retirement pension of more than $230,000 after 41 years of service, his financial disclosure form showed him earning $419,359 a year from his role at Stanford's Hoover Institution, $242,000 as a board member of defense contractor General Dynamics, and $150,000 as a board member of Theranos, for a grand total of $811,359.
All of these sources of income — and a bunch of stock in General Dynamics — went away after he was confirmed as Secretary of Defense. Which means Mattis took a massive pay cut when he came back into government.
Second chance? Give me a break.
"The guy never loses a battle, never loses. Winning record," the president told Republican donors last year, according to Politico.
If Trump keeps attacking Mattis — who is revered by military members, lawmakers, and many Americans — he'll probably see that winning record firsthand.
Besides the dig at Mattis, Trump also tweeted on Sunday a critique of his anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk, who he claimed he did not know — a hilarious self-own — "was supposed to leave in February but he just resigned prior to leaving. Grandstander?"
One person was injured by Sunday's rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Task & Purpose was learned. The injury was described as mild and no one was medically evacuated from the embassy following the attack.
What it was like to liberate the Nazi death camp of Dachau, according to an Army veteran who was there
At age 23 in the spring of 1945, Guy Prestia was in the Army fighting his way across southern Germany when his unit walked into hell on earth — the Nazi death camp at Dachau.
"It was terrible. I never saw anything like those camps," said Prestia, 97, who still lives in his hometown of Ellwood City.
Against a blistering 56 mph wind, an F/A-18F Super Hornet laden with fuel roared off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford and into the brilliant January sky.
Chalk up another step forward for America's newest and most expensive warship.
The Ford has been at sea since Jan. 16, accompanied by Navy test pilots flying a variety of aircraft. They're taking off and landing on the ship's 5 acre flight deck, taking notes and gathering data that will prove valuable for generations of pilots to come.
The Navy calls it aircraft compatibility testing, and the process marks an important new chapter for a first-in-class ship that has seen its share of challenges.
"We're establishing the launch and recovery capabilities for the history of this class, which is pretty amazing," said Capt. J.J. "Yank" Cummings, the Ford's commanding officer. "The crew is extremely proud, and they recognize the historic context of this."
Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)
Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.
Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.