Lawmakers worried over possible resignation of Pentagon chief - media
U.S. President Donald Trump may have signaled that he's grown lukewarm about his Pentagon chief James Mattis, but lawmakers are urging the president not to get rid of him, the Hill writes.
The top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jack Reed believes that any effort to push Mattis out would be "very inappropriate and would not be helpful to national security." He added that other members of Congress would also push back on an effort to oust Mattis.
House Armed Services Committee ranking Democrat Adam Smith echoed that sentiment, saying it's "critical" that Mattis be kept in his position. "We’d be better off in national security. He seems to have an ability to work with the president while reining in his worst tendencies," he stressed.
Trump in an interview aired last week on CBS said he believes Mattis is "sort of a Democrat," a comment the Defense chief was forced to push back on. And when it came to the NATO alliance, where Mattis previously served as supreme commander, Trump boasted, "I think I know more about it than [Mattis] does."
Trump added that Mattis "is a good guy" and the two get along very well, but added that "he may leave."
The Pentagon chief this past week dismissed rumors of his impending departure, telling reporters that the two have “never talked about me leaving" and that Trump told him, "I’m 100% with you."
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are worried that in replacing Mattis, who is widely viewed as having been a moderating influence in the administration, the president may introduce new instability at the highest ranks of his administration.