Defense Secretary Mattis Refuses to Get Caught Up in Political Publicity Tour

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2017 file photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stands outside the Pentagon. The White House announced nominees for senior Pentagon jobs on Thursday, March 16, 2017, including a longtime Boeing Co. executive for deputy secretary of defense, in its most significant step toward surrounding Mattis with Trump administration picks. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

I already had a favorable opinion of him, to be frank. He doesn’t need to try any harder.

The man often referred to as “Mad Dog” is refusing to be a part of the Trump Traveling Propaganda tour, and that’s a good thing.


Defense Secretary James Mattis has reportedly been turning down weekly requests from White House aides to appear on Trump’s propaganda network’s morning program, “Fox and Friends.”

Mattis has sought to keep from appearing as just another Trump cheerleader.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Mattis, his friends and colleagues say, is driven by several considerations, including his belief that the military’s political neutrality can help hold together a deeply divided nation — a point that Mr. Mattis hammered home in a commencement address last month at West Point in which he made one reference to the commander in chief and none to Congress.

Instead, he pointed to ancient Athens in hailing apolitical “defenders who look past the hot political rhetoric of our day” to protect “our experiment in self-governance.” The speech by Mr. Mattis, who is registered to vote in Washington State, which does not require political affiliations be disclosed, stood in contrast to Vice President Mike Pence’s address at the United States Naval Academy commencement in which he referred to Mr. Trump a dozen times, calling him the “best friend the armed forces of the United States will ever have.”


That doesn’t mean Mattis is totally immune to Trump. He bends to the office, when appropriate. One such example was the May 19 press conference, aimed at updating the media on the progress in the fight against ISIS. Trump had requested that Mattis make that appearance, so he did.

Mattis used the occasion to say that the idea of surrounding ISIS, to prevent them from escaping, and “annihilating” them was Trump’s idea.

Not sure that I believe that, but, whatever.

It is quite believable that Trump sent Mattis out and asked him to say something that made him sound presidential, rather than the barely coherent neophyte he actually is, and Mattis threw him a bone.

Still, Mattis has so far avoided any glaringly obvious attempts to join the circus that comes from stepping out in public and becoming just another administration stooge.

Good for him.


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