Trump says he fired Mattis, who left over Syria

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Acrimony between Trump and prominent former military leaders has spilled into the open in the wake of Mattis' resignation. Trump said. "How had he done in Afghanistan?"

After a string of policy clashes over the past almost two years, Mr. Mattis resigned abruptly in the wake of Mr. Trump's order late last month to withdraw all 2,000 USA forces now deployed to Syria, and slash the 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan by half in the coming year, citing in part the strain Mr. Trump's policies have placed on America's allies.

Since the resignation, Trump has indicated flexibility on his withdrawal schedule but has also made it clear that he did not intend to keep USA troops in "unending wars" for long. However, as Mattis' brutal letter made clear he was leaving of his own accord because Trump's worldview is so discordant with his own.

As for Mattis, he originally offered to remain in his post through February to pave the way for a new defense secretary and prepare for an upcoming North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministerial.

Joining Mr. Mattis in making an exit from the Pentagon is press secretary Dana White, who gave no reason for her departure as Mr. Mattis' chief spokeswoman. Ms.

According to a senior defense official, Shanahan met with National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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Trump similarly has criticized China on an economic and geopolitical level, but maintains he shares a warm relationship with President Xi Jinping.

"I wish him well".

Among the most immediate issues on his plate will be the pace at which the USA pulls 2,200 or so troops out of Syria, following Trump's decision last month to exit the war-torn country.

Mattis had strongly held beliefs about maintaining and respecting allies, which he cited in his resignation letter to Trump.

US President Donald Trump (L) listens next to Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, US, January 2, 2019. He reiterated that position on Wednesday, saying the country was not worth spending further resources or putting USA troops at risk.

"We have some great allies, but a lot of our allies were taking advantage of our taxpayers and our country", Trump said.