Oct 16, 2019

Trump trashes Mattis: "The world’s most overrated general"

James Mattis. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In a meeting on Wednesday that included Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Trump trash talked former Defense Secretary James Mattis, calling him "the world's most overrated general," per a Democratic source familiar with the meeting's events.

What we know: Lawmakers met to discuss the ongoing situation in northern Syria, where Turkish forces, emboldened by the withdrawal of U.S. troops, have invaded.

  • In Wednesday's White House meeting, Schumer attempted to read a quote from Mattis, stating: "if we don't keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge. It's absolutely a given that they will come back," according to a Democratic source.
  • But Trump reportedly cut Schumer off, asserting Mattis "wasn’t tough enough."
  • "I captured ISIS," Trump touted, adding, "Mattis said it would take 2 yrs. I captured them in 1 month."
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley clarified: "ISIS is defeated not destroyed."

Democrats said they walked out of the meeting — the first between Trump and Pelosi since the speaker launched a formal impeachment inquiry — after the president had a "meltdown."

Between the lines: Mattis exited the Trump administration in December, penning a letter to Trump in which he said that the president should "have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with [his]."

  • In the letter, Mattis also criticized America's fraying relationships with foreign allies, and its coziness with "countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours," such as Russia and China.

Go deeper: Trump on Syria's Kurds: "They're not angels"

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 5,375,648 — Total deaths: 343,721 — Total recoveries — 2,149,412Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,639,872 — Total deaths: 97,599 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.

Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/AFP

Trump's advisers relish the contrast between his public appearances and Joe Biden's lack thereof. The former vice president, following the guidance of public experts, has eschewed public events and stayed home for months now. Trump, meanwhile, is out and about — masks be damned.

What we're hearing: Watch for plenty more mask-free outings from Trump, hyping the reopening of the economy and avoiding discussions of social distancing and death counts.