According to a story that was first published by the Washington Post, President Donald Trump recently insulted his former Secretary of Defense and retired Marine General James Mattis inside a closed-door meeting with congressional leaders at the White House. According to statements made by multiple officials in the room, Trump reportedly referred to the retired Marine as the “world’s most overrated general,” prompting a slew of headlines, as Mattis himself has taken a great deal of criticism from the Left for trying to avoid making any derogatory statements about the sitting president while he’s in office.
Trump reportedly argued that Mattis wasn’t “tough enough” on ISIS when prompted by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Mattis resigned from his post at the Pentagon last December, largely as a result of Trump’s planned withdrawal from Syria, as well as longstanding differences regarding how best to engage foreign nations. In his resignation letter, Mattis wrote that Trump was entitled to “a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”
Since then, Mattis has been in the news a number of times, including a press tour for his most recent book, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead.” However, many took issue with Mattis’ unwillingness to go after his former boss in the White House. Mattis has repeatedly made statements indicating that he’d prefer not to go after Trump while he’s at the forefront of America’s foreign policy but has made it clear that he’ll eventually speak his peace. Mattis has occasionally made statements regarding Trump or his administration that could be seen as critical, but for the most part, has avoided the fracas that has consumed Washington over the past three years.
“There will come a point where I want to talk about strategy and policy. It’s not yet. But there will come a time,” Mattis told PBS’s Judy Woodruff when she pressed him on Trump during his book tour.
However, following the Washington Post’s coverage of Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mattis, the former SecDef took the opportunity to poke back at the president, starting by joking about how he’s “not just” an overrated general, but he’s actually the “world’s most overrated” general. He also referenced President Trump’s avoidance of the Vietnam draft over bone spurs, saying Mattis earned his spurs on the battlefield, whereas Trump earned his “in a letter from a doctor.”
“I’m honored to be considered that [overrated] by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress,” he joked. “So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals and frankly that sounds pretty good to me, and you do have to admit between me and Meryl, at least we’ve had some victories.”
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