Oct 18, 2019

Jim Mattis roasts Trump in keynote speech

Jim Mattis. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis jokingly roasted President Trump on Thursday during a keynote address at New York's annual Alfred E. Smith dinner, saying he was "honored" to be called "the world's most overrated general" by the president earlier this week, the Washington Post reports.

"I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress. So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals, and frankly that sounds pretty good to me."

More Mattis jokes:

  • "I earned my spurs on the battlefield. Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor."
  • "I think the only person in the military that Mr. Trump doesn't think is overrated is Colonel Sanders."

The big picture: Mattis has generally avoided directly addressing Trump since resigning his post last year with a letter stating that his views were "not aligned" with those of the Trump administration.

  • He said he "did as well as [he] could for as long as [he] could" during his tenure in the Trump administration in a memoir released earlier this year.
  • He wrote, without addressing Trump by name: "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."

Go deeper: James Mattis on Trump's Syria decision: "ISIS will resurge"

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Pentagon chief says U.S. troops to leave Syria for Iraq

A soldier stands guard during a joint patrol with Turkish troops in September in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha, near the border with Turkey. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters Saturday night that all of the nearly 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will continue the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, from western Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: President Trump has faced scathing criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, which paved the way for Turkey to lead a military offensive against Kurdish forces who allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

Go deeperArrowOct 20, 2019

Report: "Anonymous" Trump book "does not re-create many specific episodes in vivid detail"

Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

The book "A Warning" by the anonymous author of an infamous New York Times op-ed outlining White House opposition to President Trump fails to recreate many scenes in "vivid detail," the Washington Post reports ahead of its release.

The big picture: The 259-page book, obtained by the Post, only characterizes the author as "a senior official in the Trump administration." The text describes the Trump as a "danger to the nation," but shies away from providing specific details to protect the author's identity.

Go deeperArrowNov 8, 2019

Biden says Trump's foreign policy will likely boost ISIS

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses a crowd at Wilson High Schooin Florence, South Carolina, on Oct. 26. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told the Washington Post President Trump's conduct would likely bolster Islamic State recruitment and cause more instability in the Middle East because he "has no foreign policy" and "seems to act on a whim."

Why it matters: Those comments and further criticism in a Medium blog of Trump's conduct following the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a U.S. operation in northwestern Syria show that foreign policy is a key strategy of the Biden campaign.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019