For a Second Day, Defense Secretary Mattis Breaks With President Trump

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, left, speaks as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Defense Under Secretary and Chief Financial Office David Norquist, listen during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the FY'18 defense budget, on Capitol Hill, Monday, June 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Earlier Wednesday, President Trump did that thing where he mindlessly tweets about foreign affairs and doesn’t help the situation, at all.



For the second day in a row, Defense Secretary James Mattis has to play the adult in the room and mops up the mess Trump is making, before it gets out of hand.

On Tuesday, he expanded on Trump’s ban on transgendered service members (one of the few issues I stand shoulder to shoulder with Trump on), and suggested that transgendered service members already active would not be discharged, right now. In other words, no immediate action on that, while they try to find a way to back away from it.

So how is he breaking from Trump today, in regards to Trump’s North Korea tweet?

Mattis broke from that view, telling reporters asking about the tweet at the Pentagon, “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”

“We continue to work together, and the minister and I share responsibility to provide for the protection of our nation our populations and our interests, which is what we are here to discuss today,” Mattis said alongside South Korea Defense Minister Song Young-moo.

“And look for all the areas we can collaborate — there is already very strong collaboration, we always look for more, we are never complacent.”

You can almost picture Mattis, John Kelly, Rex Tillerson, and others within the administration getting up in the morning, then checking social media, dreading what fresh hell they’ll be forced to deal with through the day.


Tillerson has likewise been forced to break from the president.

“We continue to want the Kim [Jong Un] regime to understand there is a different path he can choose,” Tillerson told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

“There is a unified international voice echoing our message that no one wants to see a nuclearized Korean peninsula, so we’re all unified in our message to see a denuclearized Korean peninsula. We hope for the opportunity to engage with them as to how we might achieve that.”

And I completely get the sense of urgency, when dealing with North Korea. They shot a missile over Japan in a show of arrogance and aggression on Tuesday. They can’t be taken lightly.

North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un is still threatening Guam, so they need to be dealt with.

That being said, Trump needs to allow his generals and defense experts to deal with them. Twitter diplomacy rarely works to the positive.


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