The Slatest

Trump Forces Defense Secretary Mattis to Leave by Jan. 1, Will Replace Him With Deputy

President Donald Trump hosts a reception commemorating the 35th anniversary of attack on the Beirut Barracks with Secretary of Defense James Mattis in the East Room of the White House October 25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump hosts a reception commemorating the 35th anniversary of attack on the Beirut Barracks with Secretary of Defense James Mattis in the East Room of the White House October 25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump apparently couldn’t contain his anger any longer. Fuming over the negative coverage that was sparked by the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the commander in chief is moving forward with a plan to force him to resign nearly two months earlier than planned. Trump took to Twitter Sunday morning to announced that Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will be taking over as acting secretary of Defense on Jan. 1. “Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing,” Trump wrote. “He will be great!” Mattis had said he would stay in his post until Feb. 28 to ensure a smooth transition.

Trump’s announcement came shortly after the New York Times reported that Trump had been telling aides he wanted to get rid of Mattis. Although Trump had praised Mattis when he first announced he was leaving, it seems the commander in chief didn’t quite understand how much the outgoing defense secretary had criticized him in his resignation letter. As days passed and the media increasingly characterized the resignation as a rebuke on his policies, Trump reportedly got increasingly mad and wanted him to leave right away. That anger was evident Saturday night, when he wrote on Twitter that he had given Mattis a “second chance.”

Trump is apparently fond of Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, at least in part “because he often tells the president that he is correct to complain about the expense of defense systems,” notes the Times.