President Trump via Twitter announced that Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will replace Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, as acting Secretary of Defense.
As the News Blender reported Thursday Mattis issued his resignation. In his letter, Mattis explains that he believes President Trump needs a Defense Secretary “whose views,” align better with the President.
Mattis’ decision came shortly after President announced the hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria, followed by his announcement of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In response to Mattis’ departure President Trump explained on Saturday via tweet, that he gave Mattis a second chance after former President Obama “ingloriously,” fired him.
Mattis is not the only person leaving the administration over President Trump’s decision to withdrawal U.S. troops from Syria.
On Saturday The New York Times reported that special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, Brett McGurk, “accelerated his resignation.”
In an email to colleagues, McGurk, a seasoned diplomat, explained that he in good conscience could not carry out President Trump’s order to withdrawal troops as it left our coalition partners confused and was a complete reversal of understood U.S. policy.
“The recent decision by the president came as a shock and was a complete reversal of policy that was articulated to us. It left our coalition partners confused and our fighting partners bewildered. I worked this week to help manage some of the fallout but — as many of you heard in my meetings and phone calls — I ultimately concluded that I could not carry out these new instructions and maintain my integrity.”New York Times 12/22/18
McGurk’s last day is December 31st.
President Trump on Saturday explained via Twitter that McGurk was someone he did not know, that he was appointed in 2015 by former President Obama, and wondered if perhaps, McGurk was just “grandstanding.”
In his Sunday tweet President Trump explained that Shanahan will assume the role as acting Secretary of Defense January 1st, leaving Mattis to depart, two months early.
Shanahan, a former Senior Vice President for Boeing, became the Deputy Secretary of Defense in July of 2017. It is unclear how long Shanahan will be acting Secretary of Defense.
According to his State Department bio, Shanahan is a “Royal Aeronautical Society Fellow, Society of Manufacturing Engineers Fellow and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow. He served as a regent at the University of Washington for over five years.”