Jim Mattis: 5 Things To Know About Former Defense Secretary Who Torched Trump For Misusing Troops

Donald Trump's former Defense Secretary James Mattis lit into his former boss for his desire to use military force against Americans over George Floyd protests. We've got five things to know about Jim.

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Former United States Defense Secretary James Mattis, 69, wrote a scathing rebuke on June 3 about his former boss, President Donald Trump, 73, and his handling of the George Floyd protests by encouraging military action. He released a long statement to major media outlets titled “In Union There Is Strength,” which you can read here. Mattis wrote that, “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us.”  He also brought up Nazi strategy in his statement. “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’  We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis — confident that we are better than our politics.”

Mattis continued with a slam at Trump’s claim that he wants the United States military to “dominate the streets” during the protests. “We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate.’ At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict — a false conflict — between the military and civilian society,” he explained. We’ve got five things to know about James Mattis.

1.)  Mattis has a prestigious background. He’s a retired United States Marine Corps general who served from Aug. 2010 to March 22, 2013 as head of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM). President Obama appointed him to replace General David Petraeus on Aug. 11, 2010. Mattis oversaw America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as military actions in Middle Eastern countries including Syria and Yemen. He retired from the Marine Corps in 2013.

James Mattis and Donald Trump
President Donald Trump with then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis during a 2018 reception commemorating the 35th anniversary of the attack on Beirut Barracks in the East Room at the White House in Washington D.C. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

2.) Mattis spent two years as Donald Trump’s secretary of defense. Trump chose Mattis to be the leader and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense in Dec. 2016, even before he was even sworn in as president. Mattis cruised though the Senate confirmation process in Jan. 2017 and served in the position until Dec. 2018.

3.) Mattis quit as Trump’s defense secretary, but the president then fired him before he could finish his term. Mattis submitted his resignation on December 20, 2018, after Trump failed to heed his advice against withdrawing all American troops from Syria. He gave February 28, 2019 as his last day on the job. Trump then essentially fired him by moving the date up to Jan. 1, 2019. Following Mattis’ scathing statement about Trump, the president took to Twitter on June 3 and wrote, “Probably the only thing Barack Obama and I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about. His nickname was ‘Chaos’, which I didn’t like, & changed it to ‘Mad Dog.”

4.) James has some pretty epic nicknames. He’s been called “Mad Dog,” and “Warrior Monk.” James has received a lot of respect as a retired four-star general, especially for his leadership of Marines in the 2004 Battle of Fallujah in Iraq. However, he also faced controversy the very next year for saying, “it’s fun to shoot some people” while addressing service members.

5.) He’s a life-long bachelor. James graduated from the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College. He devoted his life to studying and fighting war, thus giving him the name “Warrior Monk.” James has never been married and has no children.

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