Defense Secretary Mattis Resigns, Citing Differences With Trump

Mattis will leave office in February

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has submitted a letter of resignation to President Trump on Thursday, citing differences on myriad issues, and saying he believes Trump deserves a Secretary of Defense “whose views are better aligned with yours.”

Mattis was one of Trump’s first cabinet picks, and long-serving despite reports of mounting differences with Trump. It’s not clear exactly why he is resigning just now, though a lot of media outlets are speculating it is related to the end of the Syria War.

President Trump announced earlier in the day on Twitter, before Mattis’ letter went public, that he would be “retiring, with distinction, at the end of February.” Trump has yet to name a successor, but says he will do so shortly.

There is no early indication of who this next defense secretary might be, and while Mattis emphasized the need to confront Russia and China and the value of NATO in his letter, it’s not clear what Trump’s priority would be that differs from Mattis’ own view.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of