Secretary of Defense James Mattis to retire in February

Posted at 4:32 PM, Dec 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-20 17:42:38-05

(RNN) - Secretary of Defense James Mattis will be retiring at the end of February, President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday.

“General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations,” the president tweeted, “A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!”

A letter by the secretary obtained by CNN indicated Mattis was resigning over differences with the president’s policies in Syria.

Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from Syria this week, declaring ISIS defeated. Some military and diplomatic leaders, however, have reportedly protested that decision.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” the letter reportedly said.

Mattis became Secretary of Defense shortly after the inauguration of Trump and is one of the longest-serving cabinet members.

Before that he served 44 years in the Marine Corps and led the Marines and British troops during the bloody Battle of Fallujah in Iraq in 2004.

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.