Sunday, 18 November, 2018

US Defence Chief Jim Mattis, "Sort Of Democrat", May Go: Donald Trump

Melody Ballard | 15 October, 2018, 19:49

US President Donald Trump said in an interview airing on Sunday (Oct 14) that Defence Secretary Jim Mattis "could be" leaving, referring to him as "sort of a Democrat".

"60 Minutes's" Lesley Stahl interviewed Trump, marking an undeniable get; he'd been scarce on mainstream media since around the time he appeared on tape with NBC's Lester Holt and indicated he'd fired former FBI Director James Comey in part due to the Russian Federation investigation.

Although she says Trump did not fully cooperate with her, Stahl gave the president props for his recent "string of wins".

Characterizing the Pentagon chief as a "good guy", and reiterating that they "get along very well", Trump repeated: "He may leave". That the President's vanishingly rare appearance on a nonpartisan news program had resulted in a spectacle in which randomly assorted questions were bulldozed by a man eager to speak, and in which the interviewer generally left the viewers to decide what those answers meant without the benefit of meaningful follow-up, made the point clear. "People leave. That's Washington".

In an interview with Lesley Stahl for CBS' "60 Minutes", President Trump had one heck of a blunt response for Stahl when she attempted to sidetrack his effort to delineate how dishonest the mainstream media is.

"I tell you what I don't want to do".

Trump's White House has already set a staff turnover rate of 37 percent through June 30, the Associated Press reported, and set new records for attrition. I have people now on standby that will be phenomenal. "People say that", Trump said. "Now I say they're babies", Trump said.

"I have some people that I'm not thrilled with", Trump said.

Trump has repeatedly denied rumors, circulating since the onset of Robert Mueller's "Russiagate" investigation, that he was going to fire the special counsel.

In the book, Mattis was quoted as telling aides that Trump had the understanding of a "fifth- or sixth-grader" on world and military affairs.

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"I have a very good relationship with [Mattis]", Trump said. On Sunday night, though, we got a clearer view at what power looks like when unleashed from moral standards and aspirations: It looks like a shrug when a journalist is murdered.

He has strongly denied making any such remarks.

Finally, the president revealed his capacity for self-reflection and humility when Stahl asked him if there was anything he wished he hadn't said or done in his nearly two years in office.

DONALD TRUMP: - was formed in order to take advantage of us on trade, and that's what they've done. Her next question was, verbatim, "China".

He has also, at times, openly expressed disagreement with the direction of Trump's policies.

Trump had been deferential toward Mattis, saying on September 5 his defence chief would remain in his job.

Mattis has also worked behind the scenes to assure allies of the US commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation following Trump's frequent charges that member states were not paying their fair share on defense.

He is also seen as less hawkish on Iran than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.

In an informal session with defense reporters, Mattis repeated the Pentagon's stance that US withdrawals would exclusively be based on the defeat of ISIS, but insisted that there was "no daylight" between him and Bolton.

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