The retired four-star Marine Corps general said in an interview with CBS that aired Sunday that he had intended to serve the full four years, but resigned when he determined his views were not “aligned” with President Donald Trump’s.
Mattis said he disagreed with Trump’s decision on Syria because “we need to maintain enough influence there that we don’t see the same thing that happened when we withdrew from Iraq.” He told CBS pulling out of Syria would undermine the US campaign against ISIS and would betray allies fighting alongside Americans.
Mattis resigned as defense secretary in December, citing irreconcilable policy differences in a letter to Trump. Mattis was widely regarded as a pillar of stability within an otherwise chaotic administration, and his resignation took many in Washington by surprise.
Mattis said he was “honest and forthright” with Trump about “where it was that I was parting ways.” He said he has not spoken to Trump since he resigned. Mattis told CBS he would not “speak ill” of a sitting president, but said Trump is an “unusual President.”