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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said he "did as well as [he] could for as long as [he] could" during his tenure in the Trump administration, according to a new book excerpt published Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The foreign-policy-focused piece — released just days after President Trump's weekend at the G7 summit — represents Mattis' first at-length comments since he left the White House in February after stating that his views were "not aligned" with those of the president.

Between the lines: Mattis' analysis of America's place in the world never mentions Trump by name, but it clearly echoes the views discussed in his resignation letter.

What he's saying:

  • "A wise leader must deal with reality and state what he intends, and what level of commitment he is willing to invest in achieving that end. He then has to trust that his subordinates know how to carry that out. Wise leadership requires collaboration; otherwise, it will lead to failure."
  • "Nations with allies thrive, and those without them wither. Alone, America cannot protect our people and our economy. ... A polemicist's role is not sufficient for a leader."
  • "A leader must display strategic acumen that incorporates respect for those nations that have stood with us when trouble loomed. Returning to a strategic stance that includes the interests of as many nations as we can make common cause with, we can better deal with this imperfect world we occupy together. Absent this, we will occupy an increasingly lonely position, one that puts us at increasing risk in the world."

Go deeper: Mattis resignation letter lists ways he was "not aligned" with Trump

Go deeper

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On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," Axios co-founder Mike Allen interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond.

  • Catch the full interview and much more on Sunday, February 28 at 6 pm. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.
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Italy tightens COVID restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants

Health workers prepare vaccine doses in Iseo, Italy. Photo: Stefano Nicoli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Italy on Saturday announced it was tightening restrictions in five of the country's 20 regions in an effort curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The announcement comes as health experts and scientists warn of the more transmissible coronavirus variants, per Reuters.

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Health care in the New Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.