US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to retire in February

But his exit has always been rumored, as clashes with Trump over foreign policy have increased in recent months.

Mattis, like many other Trump aides and advisers, had opposed the pullout and tried one last time to persuade the president to reverse his decision at a meeting at the White House in the afternoon.

Mr Mattis said in his resignation letter that he was stepping down so that the President could have a defense chief whose views align more closely with his own. However, what has transpired is that a warrior, scholar and public servant has chose to retire after two years heading the Defense Department at age of 68.

Mattie's letter of resignation is here.

Beyond his reputation as a voice for stability in military and foreign policy, Mattis may be best-remembered for overseeing a surge in defense spending.

Mattis is the latest of a series of Trump officials to leave the administration.

The president by contrast has no comparable experience of conflict and global affairs.

In a letter to Trump, Mattis suggested his world view, which favors traditional alliances and standing up to "malign actors", stands at odds with the president's. A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly.

His low profile seemed aimed at staying off Trump's radar and avoiding questions about where he and the president disagreed.

Under the Trump administration, North Korean testing of missiles and nuclear weapons has all but stopped. Trump had long called for an end to the Pentagon's costly involvement and declared ISIS defeated after recent victories by Kurdish-led allies on the ground. China has been put on notice to stop its theft of intellectual property and unfair trade practices.

In August 2017, video surfaced of Mattis telling troops in Jordan that the U.S.

On a routine basis for most of his tenure, anonymous sources said Kelly's departure was imminent, either through resignation of his own volition or forced by Trump.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.

Mattis wrote that he is "proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department's business practices for greater performance". What do we need to work on?

Mattis proffered his resignation on December 20 after Trump abruptly chose to withdraw American troops from Syria, declaring the war against ISIS successful and complete.

Mattis emphasized the importance of standing up for USA allies in an implicit criticism of the president's decision.

Flynn has been cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between members of Trump's presidential campaign, on which Flynn served, and Russian Federation. He is acting consistently with what he said he would do on the campaign trail.

President Trump believes America First is a governing philosophy and that foreign interventions are only necessary when our national security is at risk. It is a message to say, very clearly, that the United States faces a real risk right now from a President who governs off of his prejudices and impulses, and who is putting at risk some of the core principles that have successfully kept us at peace. "He and the president had differences on some issues".

  • Tracy Klein