Jim Mattis Delivers Scathing Critique of Donald Trump in Latest Tell-All

Former Pentagon chief publicly rebukes Trump's divisive tactics

by Zain ul Abedin
Jim Mattis Delivers Scathing Critique of Donald Trump in Latest Tell-All
© Gerald Matzka/Getty Images

In the revealing new book by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, "The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis," former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis's deep-seated disdain for Donald Trump is starkly portrayed.

According to the book, Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general who served under Trump from January 2017 to December 2018, sought to minimize his time in the White House, a decision underscored by his sharp disagreements with the former president's policies.

Tom Bossert, a former Trump Homeland Security adviser, is quoted in the book describing Mattis's aversion to interacting with Trump. "You couldn’t get Mattis into the White House," Bossert said, characterizing Mattis's view of Trump as akin to "a madman in a circular room screaming." This sentiment was so strong that Mattis preferred to distance himself to better focus on his duties, reflecting a broader trend among senior officials like former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also maintained a cautious distance from Trump.

Mattis's Stark Breakaway

Mattis's resignation in late 2018 marked a pivotal moment, prompted by his opposition to Trump's decision to withdraw all American forces from Syria, a move he viewed as detrimental to U.S. strategic interests.

His departure underscored a significant break with the administration, highlighting a fundamental clash of values and strategic visions. The tensions between Mattis and Trump didn't end with his resignation. In June 2020, Mattis publicly criticized Trump in a scathing letter published by The Atlantic.

He condemned Trump’s approach to governance, accusing him of actively seeking to divide the United States rather than unite it. "We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership," Mattis wrote, signaling his profound concern over the direction of the country under Trump's leadership.

This narrative of internal discord and principled stand-offs within Trump's administration, as detailed in Stephanopoulos’s book, offers a window into the turbulent dynamics that characterized Trump's tenure, marked by a series of high-profile resignations and public denouncements from once-close advisors.

As more excerpts and details from the book continue to emerge, the extent of the division and the challenges faced by those within the Trump White House are becoming increasingly clear, painting a picture of a presidency fraught with conflict and controversy.

Donald Trump