Amid implicit acknowledgement of turmoil in The White House, Trump's Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reassured the world that the US military was "not in disarray", but was "holding the line" as government "sorts out the way ahead."
After shrugging off President Trump's 'media as enemy' narrative:
"[I've had] some rather contentious times with the press [but the press is] a constituency that we deal with.... I don’t have any issues with the press myself."
The Defense Secretary said Sunday, according to The Washington Post, that he has been talking with a “fair number of military commanders around the world” and acknowledged the chaotic nature of Trump’s administration so far.
“Welcome to democracy,” Mattis said.
“It’s at times wildly contentious. It’s at times quite sporting. But the bottom line is this is the best form of government that we can come up with. So, the military’s job is to hold the line, and to hold the line, and to hold the line while our government sorts out the way ahead and our people speak. We don’t have any disarray inside the military, and that’s where my responsibility resides.”
General Mattis' comments come shortly after Munich Security Conference Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger delivers some choice commentary regarding President Trump's praise of Brexit.
"Is President Trump going to continue a tradition of half of century of being supportive of the project of European integration or is he going to continue to advocate EU member countries to follow the Brexit example?
If he did that, it would amount to a kind of non-military declaration of war. It would mean conflict between Europe and the United States. is that what the U.S. wants? Is that how he wishes to make America great again?"
Last month, Trump welcomed the British decision on leaving the bloc, which caused negative reaction in the European Union with then French presidential candidate Manuel Valls also calling Trump’s statements a declaration of war on Europe.
Finally, as The Hill reports, Defense Secretary James Mattis’s influence in the Trump administration appears to be growing.
Mattis has seen a potential rival for Trump’s ear on national security fall to the side in Michael Flynn, the adviser asked to resign this week for misleading Vice President Pence and others about his conversations with Russia.
And while the national security advisor job sits empty, Mattis appears to be in a prime spot to assert his influence — something being recognized on Capitol Hill.
“Certainly right now, he’s the only one who has the credentials and who is in a strong position,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said.
Notably, it appears Mattis is being given the latitude to express his views even if they contrast with Trump’s... we'll see how long that lasts.