Who Will Be Next To Go?

It seems a foregone conclusion that Jeff Sessions’ job is likely to be toast shortly after the November mid-term elections, and it isn’t surprising, since Trump has been threatening him almost daily since he rightly recused himself from the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.  But there is another head that’s likely to be on the chopping block after the mid-terms and this one needs to be taken seriously as well.

More and more, Secretary of Defense James Mattis is coming under fire from Trump.  I’ll go into some of the reasons in a minute, but Jeff Davis, who recently retired from the U.S. Navy after serving as a spokesman for the defense secretary sums it up, I think, in two sentences:

“Secretary Mattis lives by a code that is part of his DNA. He is genetically incapable of lying, and genetically incapable of disloyalty.”

He is, at the very core, the exact opposite of Donald Trump.

The probably firing of Mattis has absolutely nothing to do with Mattis’ job performance.  According to Senator Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee …

“Secretary Mattis is probably one of the most qualified individuals to hold that job. His departure would, first of all, create a disruption in an area where there has been competence and continuity.”

But Donald Trump’s first priority when it comes to his staff is not whether the person is qualified, but whether he or she is loyal.  Which is not to say that Jim Mattis is not loyal, for he is, but his loyalty is to his country, not to the man-child who makes decisions based on almost anything except logic.  One of the problems, according to a number of people, is that Mattis is frequently referred to as “the adult in the room”, indicating that in the chaos of this administration and amid the temper tantrums of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office, Mattis’ is the voice of reason.

When Trump, for no apparent reason, announced via tweets that trans-gender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military, Mattis announced that trans-gender service members will continue to be allowed to serve pending the results of a study.Trump-MattisWhen Trump demanded that military families no longer be allowed to accompany service members deployed to South Korea, Mattis refused, saying it could be seen by North Korea as a precursor to war.  Mattis and Trump have also been at odds over NATO and Trump’s unwise decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.  Possibly one of the biggest issues Trump has with Mattis is that despite Trump’s numerous requests that Mattis appear on Fox and Friends in order to praise Trump’s agenda, Mattis has declined to do so.

And then there is the Bob Woodward book, Fear:  Trump in the White House, where Mattis is quoted as having likened Trump’s intellect to that of a “fifth or sixth grader”.  Well … sounds about right to me!

There have been other disagreements:

  • In June, Trump ordered Mattis to set up a Space Force over the defense secretary’s objections that such a move would weigh down an already cumbersome bureaucracy.

  • In July, Trump blew up a NATO summit meeting that Mr. Mattis and other national security officials had worked on for months. The Pentagon chief and others saved the final agreement only because they shielded it from the president and urged envoys to complete it before Trump arrived in Brussels.

  • In August, Trump undercut Mr. Mattis after a news conference at the Pentagon in which the defense secretary suggested that the United States military would resume war games on the Korean Peninsula. The exercises had been suspended — against Mr. Mattis’s advice — after Trump met with Kim Jong-un, in Singapore. “There is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games,” Trump tweeted.

MattisWhy should we care?  First, because the truth is that James Mattis is, in reality, often the only ‘adult in the room’.  The fate of Mattis is important because he is widely viewed — by foreign allies and adversaries but also by the traditional national security establishment in the United States — as the cabinet official standing between a mercurial president and global tumult.  Mattis is highly popular with the men and women of the American military. Most of the rest of his fans are people that Trump does not care about: Democrats, establishment Republicans and American allies.  It is for this reason that Mattis’ job is safe until after November 6th, for even Trump realizes that it is not likely to be a popular move.

Obviously, I am not a close personal friend of Mattis, and thus have not had a conversation with him of late, but my best guess is that if Trump fires Mattis, it will come as something of a relief to the often-beleaguered Defense Secretary.  The constant chaos, disagreement and denigration have to take a toll.  I have often said, I wouldn’t last five minutes in the Trump administration, and I think those with a conscience, those who are determined to ‘do the right thing’, must breathe a sigh of relief on their way out.  I hope the observers who predict Mattis’ termination are wrong, for this nation needs him, but I suspect they are right, for he is a good man, an intelligent man, and those are not traits that are valued in the White House today.  Time will tell.

38 thoughts on “Who Will Be Next To Go?

  1. What worries me is what Trump might do with his finger on that button if he ever got riled enough with no one to stop him… This feels like it did when I was young and everyone was building bomb shelters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally agree. There aren’t many in this administration who I actually respect and admire. He’s one of them. It would be deeply troubling if he resigns or Trump fires him. I think stays on because he’s a patriot and he’s scared out of his mind what Trump would do without him. Heaven help us all if we have to find out.

    Liked by 3 people

    • With a few exceptions, I fully agree with you. But I do think Mattis is one of those exceptions. He has been in the military his entire life, rose to a 4-star general, and genuinely seems willing to put the nation before his own life. But otherwise, you’re right … the ones with consciences have already abandoned ship, and the ones who stay do so for what they believe is in it for them.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Trump’s inner circle is shrinking fast, and that makes him even more dangerous as his anger and frustration grows. He’ll eventually back congressional Republicans into a corner with no room to maneuver. It is that moment which will determine both Trump’s political fate and the fate of the American republic. This is why the November midterms are so crucial. It could be democracy’s last gasp. Anything short of a blue wave could trigger a complete capitulation by the GOP making Trump a de facto dictator. With the wave, at least some Republicans in Congress would have enough breathing space to act in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. This is the situation, folks, and it is that serious.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Personally I am amazed Donnie Dump Truck has not fired Mattis already, but I guess we should be glad he hasn’t. Hopefully this man is strong enough to ride out the Destructive Tornado that is presently ravaging the White House.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed. He has defied him a number of times, and typically all it takes is once. My best guess is that he has been strongly advised against it, but even strong advice only lasts so long with him.


  5. Jill, this departure would be more painful than any other. As you note, Mattis is recognized world-wide as a reasonable and honorable leader. His boss is recognized for not exhibiting these traits. The world will be a less safe place without Mattis there to calm the Trump turbulence. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey Keith, nothing to do with this post, but how are you doing in view of Florence invading North Carolina? Did you stay or evacuate? Any word on how your home is doing? Are you and yours safe where you are? I for one am concerned since Jill told us where you live.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for asking. We are being pummeled by relentless rain. The folks nearer to the coast than Charlotte have the rain, but will also have to face the swelling rivers.

        We have one small tree down and hopefully that will be all. The wind is still gusting but not as much. Thanks again, Keith

        Liked by 3 people

    • I fully agree. I’ve never before been bothered by the fact that the president has such unlimited power to hire & fire, but then, we’ve never had such an unconscionable president before, either. Let us hope that somebody with more sense than he is able to talk him out of firing Mattis.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, “time will tell” and I believe time is also running out on trump and his band of liars and thieves! Will justice prevail? I want him imprisoned! I just can’t understand how Mattis and Kelly could serve under someone , who lacks dignity and love of country! Every time someone in the military salutes him, it makes me sick to my stomach! Bone spurs????? I was a Capt. in the U. S. Air Force Reserves. I got an age waiver to join. I’d rather go to jail …. than salute that pathetic coward!!!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Unless they are staying to be an inside source of protection for our country. Without them, especially Mattis, what in the world could happen…I dread to think…

      Liked by 4 people

    • You ask the same question I have asked many times: how can anybody with a conscience, with values, stand to work for such a madman? I have no answer, and often think it says something about the characters of those who do stay in the administration … perhaps they don’t have much character. But then, you have the ones like Mattis and one or two others … perhaps they are truly putting the nation before self, hoping they can reign him in enough to avert a complete catastrophe.

      Yeah … more likely his daddy bought his medical deferral. Wait … you were a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserves? I didn’t know that! Awesome! I salute you, my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

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