Mattis Increasingly Shut Out Of Major White House Decisions

The Trump Administration has managed to make it without a high-level firing since March, when National Security Advisor John Bolton took over from HR McMaster. But could that streak be about to end?


Defense Secretary James Mattis

According to NBC News, Defense Secretary James Mattis has been cut out of several recent high-profile administration decisions, including Trump's final decision to pull out of the Iran deal, and the decision to call off military exercises around the Korean peninsula. Mattis reportedly learned about both decisions through a colleague and had felt "blindsided" when they were made. The decisions to circumvent the Secretary of Defense were reportedly made because Trump has become fed up with Mattis for stalling his policy decisions.

And as if the previous two incidents weren't enough, Trump reportedly cut Mattis out of the loop when he made his decision to order the Pentagon to create a "Space Force" - a sixth branch of the military overseeing operations in space.

The two reportedly have had trouble getting along in recent months.

"They don't really see eye to eye," said a former senior White House official who has closely observed the relationship.

Mattis' fall from grace contrasts with Trump's early praise of the retired four-star general with the quotable nickname "Mad Dog" Mattis. Their relationship has reportedly shifted since the early days of the administration, when Trump would at least keep Mattis in the loop even if Mattis disagreed on Trump's preferred course of action. However, Mattis's fall from grace is the result of Trump blaming him for the administration's clumsy rollout of its ruling on transgender soldiers, as well as for "talking down to him" and slow-rolling the administration's other policies. Crucially, Mattis also opposed moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, arguing that it could heighten security problems in the Middle East. 

Trump now prefers advice from Bolton - of whom Mattis disapproves - and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who until recently led the CIA. One of Mattis's other problems is that Trump has already cleared out Tillerson and McMaster, with whom Mattis shared an early alliance. When Tillerson and Mattis would both disagree with the administration's position, Trump in the past would focus his anger on Tillerson. That isn't so anymore.

To be sure, Mattis has convinced the president to follow through with keeping US troops in Syria and adding to the US's numbers in Afghanistan, but it's difficult to imagine that this would save him. The question is, how much longer until we see another high-profile Trump administration firing?



nmewn ACP Mon, 06/25/2018 - 21:02 Permalink

lol...or less.

Its like Time Magazine running with a knowingly false picture on their cover of the circumstances of the little illegal girl (yes, she is here illegal) because it fit the Editors and Board Members of Time magazines "narrative template".

It's simply, ridiculous. 

"The father also revealed the mother left three other children behind, and was crossing the border in search of a job — not in search of asylum. She didn’t tell any of them when she left. He told The Daily Mail the photo “broke his heart,” and he didn’t support her decision.

“Why would she want to put our little girl through that?” he said. “But it was her decision at the end of the day.”

In addition, Immigration and Customs Enforcement told media outlets the mother was attempting to cross the border illegally for a second time — moving her crime from a misdemeanor up to a felony.

“I don’t have any resentment for my wife, but I do think it was irresponsible of her to take the baby with her in her arms because we don’t know what could happen,” the father added.

He also claimed he heard the mother paid a smuggler $6,000 to get her across the border."…

Goebbels would be very proud of the attempt by Time but Goebbels didn't have to put up with a freely informed media either ;-)…

In reply to by ACP

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In reply to by philosobilly

HalEPeno I Am Jack's Ma… Mon, 06/25/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

Maybe Bolton is a neocon ass, but Mattis is an idiot who thinks becuz he reads Marcus Aurelius' Commentaries, he IS Marcus Aurelius.

I am a former Marine, and Mattis is a typical General who shifted positions to get more stars.  The classic is his argument that he could get more intel over a cup of tea with an Arab than by waterboarding.  So tell me "Mad Dog", if I buy you a Coke will you tell me the US nuclear missile launch codes.  Fucking moron.

In reply to by I Am Jack's Ma…

BabaLooey Deep Snorkeler Mon, 06/25/2018 - 21:49 Permalink

The BARRY SOETERO White House Freak Show

Where the abhorrent becomes BUSINESS AS USUAL

where ethical boundaries are COMPLETELY IGNORED




..............................................see how that works...Pumpkin....?


In reply to by Deep Snorkeler

Scipio Africanuz Banana Republican Tue, 06/26/2018 - 06:12 Permalink

Trump is a business man, Mattis is a military man. Trump is concerned about the economy, Mattis about the perception of military strength.

Now, on most issues that do not have to do directly with the military, Mattis is the adult in the administration, and on issues that have to do with the military, Trump is the adult. The natural calibrator, would be the secretary of state and from what I sense, rather than active calibration, there's abdication.

Here's the situation as it exists now:

Trump wants to reduce external military commitments to save money, Mattis wants to maintain, or increase them, to preserve American power vis a vis competitors, the problem for Mattis, is the highly changed multipolar environment. The military can no longer be front and center of foreign policy and yet, state has so far as I can observe, been unable to harmonize US soft power to enable defense withdraw into the lethal background.

Military power, should be a hidden but acknowledged tool of foreign policy. It's why soldiers, rather than live amongst civilians, are required to live in barracks.

So far so good, I'm yet to hear of a strategy going forward, that details how the USA should adjust honorably to the defacto multipolar environment. What passes for strategy, is just more of the same old, same old, under a new cover, that is imperium lite.

This won't work anymore, a rational strategy of multipolar cooperation is now required, and it can't be done without defense on board. The challenge, is to make the case to defense, that going forward, imperium is no longer affordable, and for that case to be cogent, other arms of US power, must step to the plate and work assiduously, to ensure the need for the activation of kinetic power does not arise.

In this strategy, finance power improperly deployed as a weapon, is counterproductive. The military needs to retrench, and administrators of US soft power need to grow up!

All in all, everybody needs to get on the President's page that the interests of Americans come first, as far as he's concerned, and provide him a harmonized strategy to achieve his objectives. This requires courage, integrity, and most importantly, COOPERATION!

Good luck, and God speed...

In reply to by Banana Republican

One of We Mon, 06/25/2018 - 20:52 Permalink

No offense to the soldiers or Mad Dog but Iraq and Afghanistan have been total dumpster fires and account for the bulk of Mattis's experience.  Trump sees the military as the BFH you have in the toolbox but hope you never have to use.

Someone Else One of We Mon, 06/25/2018 - 21:13 Permalink

Trump sees the military as the BFH (whatever that is) in the tool box but hope you never have to use it?


Um....are you aware that we have some 900 military bases, throwing their weight around in 135 countries?  That we continue to bomb 8 countries for no particular reason?  That we have special operations forces in just about every country on earth - doing clandestine military stuff?  That we have more than 2,000 troops in Syria and have killed tens of thousands with no Congressional approval or UN approval (just cuz we can).


Yeah its a good thing we never use our military.  Why wait for a legitimate war? 

In reply to by One of We