U.S. Defense Secretary James Matisse announced his resignation Thursday on the grounds of irreconcilable differences with Trump over some policies, CNN reported, surprising U.S. politicians. The decision was made the day after Trumps decision to withdraw troops from Syria was announced.
In his resignation letter to Trump, Matisse wrote, Because you have the right to appoint a Defense Minister whose views are more in line with yours on these and other issues, I think I am right to resign from my position.
Matisse made it clear in his letter that the strength of the United States depends in part on the strength of its global alliance, many of which have been significantly undermined under Trumps administration. One of the core beliefs I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive alliance and partnership system, he said in his letter. Although the United States is still an indispensable country in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or effectively play this role unless we maintain strong alliances and respect them.
Earlier Thursday, a senior government official told CNN that Matisse strongly opposed Trumps decision to withdraw from Syria and possibly Afghanistan. Although Matisses resignation letter did not clearly state his opposition to the presidents planned withdrawal from Syria, the retiring four-star general privately and firmly urged Trump not to withdraw.
According to senior White House officials and defense officials, Matisse went to the White House on Thursday to meet Trump one-on-one to discuss his concerns about Syria and try to change President Trumps idea of withdrawing troops, but he was unable to do so. Eventually, he told Trump that he would resign and submitted his resignation letter. According to Pentagon Chief Spokesman Dana White, Matisse told his staff that he resigned after returning to the Pentagon from the White House in the afternoon and would officially leave office on February 28, 2019. Matisse said the date should allow enough time for the nomination and confirmation of successors and ensure that the interests of the Ministry of Defense are properly stated and protected in upcoming events, including the Congressional Situation Hearing and the NATO Defense Ministerial Meeting to be held in February.
In a tweet, Trump announced Matisses departure and said, General Jim Matisse will retire honorably at the end of February after serving my government as Minister of Defense for the past two years. Trump also praised Matisses tremendous progress as Minister of Defense and thanked him for his service. Trump also said Matisses successor will be nominated soon.
According to two other U.S. officials, Matisse has not yet signed an executive order to withdraw troops from Syria. One official said the draft order indicated that the withdrawal time limit was 120 days from the date of signature.
Source of this article: Global Network Responsible Editor: Xu Meng_N7485