‘It shows Trump’s foreign policy is spiraling into chaos’: Democrats – and a few Republicans – raise outcry at Defense Secretary Mattis’ shock resignation as some even call for Congressional investigation
- Democrats, and some Republicans, expressed concern at Mattis’ departure
- Secretary Mattis submitted his letter of resignation to Trump on Thursday
- Letter cited different philosophy on alliances and threats from China and Russia
- Democrats seized on the resignation as a rebuke to Trump’s foreign policy
- Senator Menendez claimed administration ‘continues to spiral into chaos’
- Senator Duckworth called for Mattis to testify before Congress on resignation
- Republican Senator Rubio also said the resignation signaled ‘grave policy errors’
Democrats in Congress, along with a few Republicans, have cried out in alarm at the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, claiming that his departure will send the administration into chaos.
Mattis, 68, submitted his letter of resignation to President Donald Trump on Thursday, shocking Democrats and establishment Republicans who saw him as a steady hand in the cabinet.
Though most Republicans in Congress took the opportunity to issue straightforward statements thanking Mattis for his service and praising his accomplishments, some joined Democrats in raising the alarm.
‘Just read Gen. Mattis resignation letter ,’ tweeted Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican. ‘It makes it abundantly clear that we are headed toward a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries.’
Mattis (seen in November) submitted his letter of resignation on Thursday, shocking Democrats and establishment Republicans who saw him as a steady hand in the cabinet
Rubio went on to say that if necessary members of Congress must ‘fulfill our constitutional duty to conduct oversight over the policies of the executive branch.’
Mattis in his letter noted his ‘core belief’ that American strength is ‘inextricably linked’ with its alliances and partnerships with other nations, a position seemingly at odds with the ‘America First’ policy of the president.
The defense secretary also said China and Russia want to spread their ‘authoritarian model’ and promote their interests at the expense of America and its allies. ‘That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense,’ he wrote, going on to imply that his views and the President’s were at odds on these issues.
Leading the cries of outrage at Mattis’ resignation was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is set to become the most powerful Democrat in Washington when Democrats retake the House next month.
‘General Mattis was a comfort to many who were concerned about the path the Trump Admin would choose to take,’ Pelosi said on Twitter. ‘All of us should be concerned at this time.’
In his resignation letter, Mattis spelled out his strategic views and said Trump should find a defense secretary he agrees with more
‘Secretary Mattis’ extraordinary resignation is a significant loss and a real indication that President Trump’s foreign policy agenda has failed and continues to spiral into chaos,’ Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said in a statement.
Menedez continued: ‘Clearly, Secretary Mattis’ resignation was prompted by the President’s flawed and hasty decision to withdraw our troops from Syria. And as Secretary Mattis makes clear in his letter, President Trump’s coziness with authoritarian regimes and his animosity to our closest allies are increasingly indefensible.’
‘This is scary,’ reacted Senate Intelligence committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia. ‘Secretary Mattis has been an island of stability amidst the chaos of the Trump administration.’
There were even calls for a Congressional probe into the statements Mattis made in his resignation letter.
‘Secretary Mattis should testify before Congress and answer questions about the alarming contents of his resignation letter,’ Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, wrote on Twitter.
Some Democrats expressed sympathy for Mattis and said they understood why he resigned.
‘Jim Mattis did a superb job as Secretary of Defense. But he cannot be expected to stand behind a President who disrespects our allies and ingratiates himself to our adversaries,’ said William Cohen, who served as defense secretary under Bill Clinton and knows Mattis well.
For the most part, Congressional Republicans held back their criticism and simply took the opportunity to praise Mattis, a retired Marine general, for his service.
‘Secretary Mattis led us through rebuilding our military after the readiness crisis to developing a forward thinking National Defense Strategy that prepares our military for the realities of the future,’ Senator Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said in a statement.
‘He was devoted to the warfighter, military families and veterans. I always valued our close working relationship and our nation is better for his lifetime of service.’