The HyperTexts

James Mattis Resignation Letter: Full Text, Reaction and Quotes

The resignation letter of General James N. Mattis, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, resulted in shockwaves around the world. This page contains quotes from leading Republicans and Democrats, analysts and pundits on both sides, and the response from Israel, the Kurdish perspective, and other global viewpoints, including those of Russia and China.

What are "people in the know" saying about the resignation of James Mattis, and what does that response tell us about Trump? The letter has been compared to "flying the flag upside down" and an SOS or "distress signal."

Why does the senior Republican leadership sound absolutely terrified by the thought of Trump acting without adult supervision? Trump's fellow Republicans quoted here include George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bob Corker, Ann Coulter, Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, John Kasich, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Ben Sasse, among others.

The consensus opinion, not only of Democrats but of Republicans and America's allies around the world, seems to be that: (1) The world is suddenly a much more dangerous place; (2) Israel has been betrayed and is now isolated with Iranian, Russian and Syrian forces just across its northern border, not to mention ISIS; (3) the Kurds, who lost upwards of 10,000 combatants while fighting ISIS compared to two American soldiers lost in combat, have also been betrayed and may now be in real danger of slaughter; (4) America's allies cannot believe anything they are promised or told by the Trump administration; (5) Trump is highly erratic and impulsive, if not mentally unstable; (6) tweeting information about American troop deployments and military strategy is very dangerous and the height of folly; (7) the winners are Putin, Russia, Assad, Syria, Iran, ISIS and Turkey; (8) the losers are the United States, Israel, the Kurds, and anyone in Syria still dreaming of democracy.

Sources include Fox News, Fox & Friends, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, CNN, MSNBC, major American newspapers, and spokespersons for Vladimir Putin and Russia, among others.

James Mattis's letter of resignation as Secretary of Defense, delivered to President Trump on December 20, 2018, stunned Americans and the larger world, particularly because Mattis had been called "the last adult" in the White House and a sort of human "guardrail" against Trump going completely off track. The reaction to Mattis's resignation letter can be gauged throught the "reactionary" quotes below. The consensus seems to be horror and dismay on all sides (except among America's enemies; vodka glasses are undoubtedly tinkling in the Kremlin). The majority of the reactions are by Trump's fellow Republicans, and they reveal how little they trust him and how much they consider him to be impulsive, unreliable and an extreme danger to Americans and the world. Why Republican leaders have supported Trump almost unanimously to date, only they can say, if they know themselves. Obviously they know how dangerously unstable he is, and yet they have refused to stand up to him, even when Trump puts Russian interests above those of America and its allies. Why?

James Mattis is one of the most widely respected generals in American history. And he's no dummy. During his service years, Mattis was considered to be an intellectual of note. Robert H. Scales, a retired United States Army major general, described Mattis as "one of the most urbane and polished men I have known." Reinforcing this intellectual aura was the fact that Mattis carried a copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius throughout his deployments. Mattis served his country in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He rose the rank of four-star general and eventually oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2016 he became Trump's choice for Secretary of Defense. He was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 98-1, with the only "nay" being over a procedural technicality.

According to CNN, Trump "hates" the resignation letter, but hates the coverage even more especially the claims that he requires "adult supervision." Ironically, Mattis may be partly responsible for that perception because, according to Bob Woodward, after a meeting in which Trump asked why the US was spending any money in Korea, the Secretary of Defense “was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — a fifth- or sixth-grader.” Mattis had to explain to Trump that the US was spending money in the region in an attempt to avoid WWIII. It seems likely that Mattis resigned over a similar argument, with Trump being unable to understand why the US was spending money probably a lot less money so far from home. Several times in the past, Trump made it sound as if he expected other nations to pay "protection money" to the US.

These are reactions from around the globe, in the form of quotes, to Mattis's resignation letter and to Trump's impulsive, unilateral withdrawals of American troops from Syria and Afghanistan. The full text of the resignation letter appears below the first set of quotes, after which more quotes follow.

Reactions and Quotes from Around the Globe

Before his death, former President George H. W. Bush had a blunt assessment of Donald Trump: "He's a blowhard." His son, former President George W. Bush, also had harsh words for his Republican successor: "This guy doesn't know what it means to be president." Former President Jimmy Carter agreed, saying: "I think he’s a disaster."

"Make no mistake Jim Mattis is resigning in protest over the president's national security policies," a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.

Fox News was told by its sources that "Mattis believes pulling out of Syria is a betrayal of the Kurds and the Syrian Democratic Forces U.S. allies whom military leaders believe will be slaughtered once the U.S. leaves Syria." [One can hardly blame the Kurds, considering the risks they took and the thousands of deaths they suffered in the war against ISIS. The Haaretz quotes on this page will confirm that this is also the view in Israel.]

"The U.S. President is weak. He is running away, with America’s tail between its legs. He is abandoning Israel, betraying the Kurds and sticking a knife in the back of Bashar Assad’s opponents. He is strengthening Iran, handing a victory to Russia, throwing a lifeline to ISIS and encouraging radical Islam." (Haaretz, a major Israeli newspaper)

Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general, said: "This is a rogue presidency."

Former Director of National Security James Clapper says ISIS has not been defeated and blasts Trump's claims that he knows more about ISIS than the generals do as "appalling arrogance."

Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said: "As this Administration continues to implode, Secretary Mattis' extraordinary resignation is a significant loss and a real indication that President Trump's foreign policy agenda has failed and continues to spiral into chaos." 

The Mattis resignation is being cheered in Russia. Vodka glasses are once again tinkling in the Kremlin. Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Upper House of the Russian Parliament, said that “the departure of James Mattis is a positive signal for Russia, since Mattis was far more hawkish on Russia and China than Donald Trump.” 

Jubilation was even more apparent on Russia’s state television, which adheres closely to the Kremlin’s point of view. The host of the Russian state TV show 60 Minutes, Olga Skabeeva, announced: “Secretary of Defense Mattis didn’t want to leave Syria, so Trump fired him. They are leaving Syria.” Skabeeva surmised that Americans are “losers, since Putin has defeated them in every way.” With a theatrical sigh, her co-host, Evgeny Popov, added: “Trump is ours again—what are you going to do?” Every member of the sizeable audience clapped enthusiastically. Popov smirked: “It seems to Americans that we won on every front: the U.S. Secretary of Defense has been removed, we unquestionably secured a complete, unconditional victory in Syria.” Skabeeva chimed in: “They’re also planning to leave Afghanistan.” Popov then pointed out: “On top of that, Rusal sanctions have been lifted with Trump’s hands.” Panelists of the show, including Russian lawmakers, couldn’t hide their satisfied grins. 

Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett told The New York Times that the move to lift Rusal sanctions amounted to Trump “sliding another big gift under Vladimir Putin’s Christmas tree.” The gesture is certainly being interpreted that way in Russia.

The Russians are enjoying their easy victory over the US, thanks to Trump. But why was it so easy? Discussing the planned departure of the U.S. from Syria, Skabeeva pondered why Trump suddenly decided to leave at this point in time: “Americans say, it’s because he is beholden to Putin. Is that logical? Yes, it is.”

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said: “They’re celebrating in Moscow and Tehran right now. They’re trembling in Tel Aviv. And in Washington we’re confused, because nobody saw this coming.”

Meanwhile a sense of "transatlantic crisis" if not doom spread quickly across Europe. Carl Bildt, the co-chair of the European council on foreign relations, tweeted: “A morning of alarm in Europe. Sec Def Mattis is the remaining strong bond across the Atlantic in the Trump administration. All the others are fragile at best or broken at worst.”

In Berlin, Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee and an ally of Angela Merkel, said: "Mattis was the last man standing for what had been US foreign policy since World War II. "With him gone this really marks a juncture in the Trump presidency. Now we have an unrestrained Trump, which is a dangerous signal for the year ahead."

Guy Verhofstadt, a leader of the European Union Parliament, said: "Mattis checked President Trump's worst instincts and was a strong supporter of NATO and multilateralism. His departure is bad news and makes it look like Putin’s plan is being delivered on."

Verhofstadt called Trump's impulsive decision: “A victory for Russia, Iran, Turkey, Turkish proxies & the Syrian regime.

According to The Guardian: "British officials have described the outcome as deeply disturbing." Alistair Burt, a British minister who oversaw British-Syrian policy for three years, observed: “There are no vacuums in foreign policy, certainly not in the Middle East. In a fragile region every action is a catalyst for another. If allies cannot be relied upon, others are sought to take their place. Jim Mattis understood vital any successor agrees.” [But Trump and his kiddie corps apparently don't agree, or just don't care.] Burt was warning the US that the Gulf states and Kurds may deduce that the US pullout means their long-term interests may lie in allying with more steadfast partners such as Russia or China. Russia has been increasingly active in the Middle East, and now seems certain to emerge as the victor that protected Syria's ruler, Bashar al-Assad. Other Arab countries are preparing to recognize Assad as victor, and his patron Putin, by sending diplomats to Damascus.

Great Britain's defense minister, Tobias Ellwood, praised Mattis as “trusted, respected and admired by friends and allies, as well as feared and revered by our foes.” He tweeted: “The most impressive military mind I’ve had the honour to know. Jim my friend our world will be less safe without you.” Ellwood had previously clashed with Trump’s assessment that ISIS had been defeated in Syria. “It had morphed into something else,” he said.

The former British ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher, spoke of “storm clouds darkening.”

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, was quickly engaged in discussions with allies about the departing US ground troops in Syria. The sense of anger, edging on defiance, at Trump’s decision was clearest in Paris. The French defence minister, Florence Parly, said: "We do not share the analyses that the territorial caliphate [ISIS] has been annihilated. It’s an extremely grave decision, and we think the job must be finished."

According to The New York Times: "President Trump’s decision to withdraw roughly 7,000 troops from Afghanistan, along with the resignation of his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, stirred fears in the Asia-Pacific region that the United States was abandoning its leadership of decades-old alliances crucial to stability and peace since World War II." The troop withdrawals "drew particular alarm in Australia, a close American ally whose soldiers have died in American-led wars in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan." Mattis’s resignation reignited Australia concerns about whether the US can be depended upon as an ally. “I had a discussion with a senior government official this morning and he asked, ‘Who’s left in the U.S. cabinet who we regard as an adult?’ We both scratched our heads,” said Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and a former government defense strategist. “Mattis offered a consistent approach to pushing back against China,” Jennings said. “With Trump everything is negotiable, everything is up in the air.”

"Trump’s decision cedes 'hegemony' to Russia." (Haaretz)
Republican senators admit that ISIS, Iran and Russia "are the winners." (Haaretz)
The reaction in Israel is that Trump is a betrayer who is "erratic" and "cannot be relied on." (Haaretz)
The Kurds certainly feel betrayed, "after they sacrificed thousands of their fighters to aid the American campaign against the Islamic State." (Haaretz)
"Russian president Vladimir Putin can, for now, consider his Syrian adventure to be an impressive success." (Haaretz)
"We gave the country to Putin, the winner of this conflict." (Rula Jebreal, an Israeli foreign policy analyst)
It's a "victory" for the Iranians, Russians and Assad. (Rula Jebreal)
"James Mattis just cut the world's safety net." (CNN)
Washington insiders (both Democrats and Republicans) are "stunned." (Ryan Browne)
"Trump is giving Putin exactly what he wants." (Erin Burnett)
"It could not get better for Putin today." (Erin Burnett)
Putin's spokesperson called the US an "obstacle to peace" and made it clear America should get out of Putin's way, as Trump just did.
General Stanley McChrystal said: "The kind of leadership that causes a dedicated patriot like Jim Mattis to leave should give pause to every American." 
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham praised Mattis and said the president "just has to listen" to his advisers, suggesting that he doesn't.
Graham also said that Americans are "dramatically less safe" and called the premature withdrawals an "Obama-like move."
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cautioned that Russia is America's enemy, something Trump refuses to accept.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio said Mattis's resignation would lead to "grave policy errors which will endanger our nation."
Rubio called Trump's actions "a terrible mistake" and said he was afraid that Americans would "pay a price" for his rashness.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said: "That’s what happens when you ignore sound military advice."
Kinzinger, who fought for his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, also said that Trump's claim to have defeated ISIS was "simply not true."
Brett McGurk said defeating ISIS will be a long-term initiative and "nobody is declaring mission accomplished."
McGurk said it would be "reckless" to think otherwise and that "anyone who has looked at a conflict like this would agree with that."
McGurk is Trump's own Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL/ISIS.
So according to his own Special Presidential Envoy, Trump is blind and reckless.
Republican Senator Bob Corker said he doubted there were any Republican leaders who weren't "stunned" by Trump's "precipitous" decision.
Corker later said of Trump's theatrics: "It's a spectacle, and candidly, it's juvenile. The whole thing is juvenile."
Former Republican Presidential candidate John Kasich said: "This chaos, both foreign and domestic, is putting America in danger and must stop immediately."
Republican Congressman Mike Turner, who sits on both the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees, said "no one has been briefed."
Turner said that Trump's failure to brief anyone had led to "consternation on Capitol Hill." Trump apparently blindsided his own party.
Turner also said that running troop deployments through Twitter is "dangerous for our troops" and  "dangerous for our allies."
Republican House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul said he "slept better at night knowing (Mattis) was in charge of our military."
Not so much with Trump calling the shots without listening to his senior military advisers.
Former CIA Director John Brennan rebuked Trump's "policy by tweet" and observed that his is now surrounded by "yes men."
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta said that the United States is going through "a steady diet of chaos."
Panetta simply sounded furious: "The last damn thing we need is more chaos and crisis."
Panetta said Trump "enjoys chaos" because he believes it brings him more attention, "but a steady diet of chaos creates hell for the American people."
Panetta continued: "We need a president who is going to make the right decisions and provide stability for this country."
"Chaos reigns in President Trump's Washington." (MSNBC)
"There are no more grown-ups in the room." (Jeffrey Toobin)
"He's going to close down the government because Ann Coulter got mad at him." (Jeffrey Toobin)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Trump is "plunging the country into chaos."
Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called Mattis "an island of stability amidst the chaos of the Trump administration." 
Warner tweeted: "as we've seen with the President's haphazard approach to Syria, our national defense is too important to be subjected to the President's erratic whims." 
Senator Chris Murphy called the Mattis resignation a "national security crisis."
Murphy also said: "There is a "morale crisis at the Department of Defense right now."
Senator Bob Menendez tweeted: "Secretary Mattis’ resignation is a significant loss and shows that that President Trump’s foreign policy agenda is spiraling into chaos."
Trump proved the Taliban’s maxim: "Americans have watches, we have time." (Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US)
"Is the president smarter than his generals?" (Don Lemon, speaking rhetorically)
House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry said he was "disappointed" that Mattis is leaving.
The incoming chairman of Armed Services, Rep. Adam Smith, said the news of Mattis' resignation is "very disappointing."
Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she was "sad" and "shaken" by Mattis' departure.
Eliot Engel, the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he believes Trump's Syria decision was "the straw that broke the camel's back" for Mattis.  

Apparently, every Republic senator and congressman knows that Trump is erratic, unstable, dangerous, and not to be trusted. And yet they all bow down to him, kiss his ass, and do whatever he tells them to do. Are they leaders, or sheep? If they are sheep, why the hell should anyone vote for them when they run for their nation's highest positions of leadership?

According to Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, "The Mattis critique is foundational: The president he serves, he suggests in his [resignation] letter, does not understand the value of allies, or the immorality of disparaging and abandoning them. Trump, as my colleague David Frum notes, is abandoning America’s Kurdish allies in Syria to extremism and terror, and he is abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban. Mattis always knew that Trump lacked an understanding of why autocracy is the enemy of the American idea. But Mattis operated under the illusion that he could change Trump’s views, or at least some of his foolish ways. Yesterday marked the end of the illusion."

Goldberg continues: "Mattis’s departure also means that the United States is entering the third phase of Trump’s foreign policy. In the first year of his presidency, Trump paid attention mainly to domestic issues, and did not afflict America’s diplomatic and national-security establishment with an undue number of his ignorant and damaging foreign-policy views. In the second year, he became more destructively engaged, but he listened, on occasion, to those in his administration who possessed actual expertise in foreign policy. We are now entering the third year of his presidency, and third phase of his foreign policy: Trump alone, besieged, but believing, perhaps more than ever, in the inerrancy of his beliefs."

And now Trump is without "the only adult in the room" to act as a circuit breaker when he becomes over-energized and a danger to his country and the world.

Here is Israel's position, as reported by Haaretz: "This is what happens to a country and a prime minister who have wagered all their chips on empty gestures, such as the embassy move, at the expense of the far greater and more immediate threat on its northern border. This is what happens when one relies on evangelicals - who couldn’t care less about Syria, at best, or are praying for it to spark the war of Gog and Magog, at worst - as its sole advocate in Washington. This is what awaits an Israeli leader who gets bogged down in the thick molasses of flattery and kowtowing to a U.S. President, to the extent that he effectively loses any ability to challenge him or to enlist Congress and public opinion against his decisions. This is the destiny of a prime minister who is terrified that any direct public rebuke could make Trump blow his top and endanger the beautiful friendship he worked so hard to build. In the next few weeks and months, Israel will watch with bated breath as the U.S. relinquishes much of its ability to influence events on the ground in Syria. Although U.S. officials promised on Wednesday to maintain the U.S. air campaign, without a significant ground presence, its deterrence will be weakened, its ability to quickly deploy troops on the ground will disappear and its impact on a final settlement of the Syrian civil war will diminish dramatically. The withdrawal, announced on Wednesday by U.S. defense officials, concedes hegemony in Syria to the Kremlin. According to reports in U.S. media, Trump overruled senior army and Pentagon officials, who objected to the quick pullback. Trump tweeted on Wednesday “We have defeated ISIS” but U.S. defense experts claim that the Islamic terrorists continue to hold significant swaths of territory in northern Syria, that the organization is definitely down, but certainly not out. If a worst case scenario emerges, history might list Trump’s ISIS braggadocio alongside George Bush’s woeful 2003 declaration “Mission Accomplished” on Iraq or Senator George Aiken’s famous 1966 recommendation that the U.S. declare victory in Vietnam before it scurries away."

Here is the full text of Mattis's resignation letter, which he presented to Trump. The letter is noteworthy for what it says, and what it doesn't say. What it says is that Trump has been weakening the United States by alienating its allies. It also says that Trump has been irresolute and ambiguous in his approach to a common defense against authoritarian enemies of the United States, particularly Russia and China. What the letter doesn't say is that Mattis has any thanks, admiration or regard for Trump. Nor should he.

Dear Mr. President:

I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals. 

I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions — to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.

Jim N. Mattis

More Mattis Resignation and Trump-Related Quotes

According to Fox News, the resignation of James Mattis "would mark the first time in 40 years that a Cabinet official has resigned over a policy difference. The last person to do so was then-President Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State Cyrus Vance during the failed Iran hostage rescue."

Fox News was told by its sources that more resignations at the Pentagon could be coming in Mattis’s wake.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse said: "This is a sad day for America because Secretary Mattis was giving advice the President needs to hear."
Republican Senator Jeff Flake has been a frequent critic of Trump and has written about his “instability.”
Former Republican Senator Gordon Humphrey said Trump is "dangerously reckless" and that he gave Putin a "very cheap victory."
Republican Senator Ted Cruz has accused Trump of having mob ties, evading taxes, being mentally unstable and potentially nuking Denmark! 
Republican Rand Paul called Trump a “delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag.”
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called Trump a "phony" and a "fraud" whose promises "are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.''
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan once accused Trump of racism and "identity politics" before he apparently lost his spine.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said: "Anyone who breaks the law should face appropriate consequences" with no exception for the president.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey said: “I think General Mattis has put his finger on where the president has views that are very, very distinct from the vast majority of Republicans and probably Democrats, elected and unelected.”
Republican Senator Marco Rubio said that Mattis's resignation letter "makes it abundantly clear that we are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries."

Incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nabler said "The wheels are coming off" the Trump "bus."
Incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said Trump is jeopardizing “the rule of law.” 
Former CIA director John McLaughlin said Trump has "no principles, no policy, no process" and accused him of "complete folly."
Barbara Boxer compared Trump to the Wizard of Oz, standing behind a curtain pretending to have great powers.
Eleanor Clift said the Trump administration was the "most chaotic in history."
Nicholas Kristof wrote: "Russia is the beneficiary." 
Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, called the Mattis resignation letter a "screed against Donald Trump."
Don Lemon called Trump's vision of spike-topped fences a "theater of the absurd," saying "People, you're being played."

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called the week ending Dec. 22, 2018 “the most chaotic week of what’s undoubtedly the most chaotic presidency ever in the history of the United States.” He added: “The institutions of our government lack steady and experienced leadership. With all of these departures, it is about to get even more unsteady. The president is making decisions without counsel, without preparation, and even without communication between relevant departments and relevant agencies.”

More ISIS Quotes

Brian Kilmeade, a co-host of Fox & Friends, said, "He’s giving Russia a big win. Vladimir Putin praised him."
Kilmeade also said: "He also is doing exactly what he criticized President Obama for doing — he said President Obama is the founder of ISIS. He just re-founded ISIS!"
Sasse also said: "Radical jihadists are still at war with us, and NO, MR PRESIDENT, ISIS is not gone. It's not true and just proclaiming it doesn't make it so."
Republican Vice President Mike Pence refused to confirm that he agreed with Trump's capitulation to Putin, walking silently past assembled reporters.
“I disagree w removing US troops from Syria,” tweeted Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary under George W. Bush.

More Israel Quotes

According to McClatchy: The abrupt resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has left Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East, confounded as it comes to grips with the even greater implications of the U.S. military withdrawal from Syria that prompted Mattis’s departure. Combined with the departures of Chief of Staff John Kelly and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Israeli officials are scrambling to determine who is left in the White House who can convince President Donald Trump to think of Israel before taking such drastic security moves, as Mattis successfully did in the past. “There is no question that Israeli officials are concerned about the U.S. pulling out,” said Dan Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel in the Obama administration. “It was done without any meaningful consultation with them.”

Expert Opinions

“Trump wants total freedom to do what he wants when he wants and he’s much closer to getting that, which is what will terrify not only Congress but the rest of the world as well,” said Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution.

Rex Tillerson, Trump’s first secretary of state and a longtime corporate executive, recently described the futility of trying to contain Trump. He said Trump is “undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, ‘This is what I believe.’”

Trump Wall Quotes

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney once called President Donald Trump's views on a border wall and immigration "simplistic" and "absurd and almost childish."
Steve Doocy, a co-host of Fox & Friends, called Trump the ultimate loser: “He loses, and the Democrats will win everything they want.”
Ann Coulter called Trump a "Gigantic Douchebag" and a "Gutless President in a Wall-Less Country."
Republican pundit Rush Limbaugh said that without the wall "Trump gets nothing and the Democrats get everything," persuading Trump to shut down the government.

"The bottom line is that a fence doesn't stop anybody who really wants to get across," Mick Mulvaney said in the 2015 interview. "You go under, you go around, you go through it. And that's what the ranchers tell us, is that they don't need a fence. What they need is more manpower, and more technology, and more willingness to enforce the law as it exists today. There are parts of our border that are secure and parts of our border that are not. A lot of that comes down to whether or not we are just willing to enforce the law as it exists. So it's easy to tell people what they want to hear, 'Build the darn fence, vote for me.'"

More Global Quotes

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bought Trump's prized yacht from his creditors when he was on the cusp of personal bankruptcy. A few years later, one of Trump's lenders forced him to sell the Plaza Hotel, a New York City landmark also mired in debt, to Alwaleed. As David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell noted in the Washington Post recently, this was a period when Trump was trying to dig himself out of $3.4 billion of debt, about $900 million of which he had guaranteed personally. But Alwaleed was a bargain-hunter at the time, not someone trying to ensnare a failed developer on the unlikely chance that he might someday become president. Still, Alwaleed, who once described Trump on Twitter as a “disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America,” kept those early deals in mind. When Trump made fun of him on Twitter two years ago, Alwaleed responded by tweeting, “I bailed you out twice; a 3rd time, maybe?”

Related Pages: James Mattis Nicknames

The HyperTexts