Washington D.C. [USA], Sept 16 : United States President Donald Trump is reportedly mulling to axe Secretary of Defence James Mattis after the midterm elections in November this year.
White House aides told The New York Times that the US President is pondering whether to appoint someone heading the Pentagon in order to be a vocal supporter of the former’s policies. According to two aides, Trump wants Mattis to be more like Secretary of State Pompeo, who is a political supporter of the US president.
Both Mattis and Trump are reportedly at loggerheads over a number of issues such as banning transgenders to serve in the military, resumption of military exercises with South Korea, Washington’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal and US’ stand on NATO policy.
In May, Trump appointed Mira Ricardel as his deputy national security advisor, wherein the latter has had past disagreements with Mattis.
Trump reportedly took exception to an excerpt mentioned in veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s book, wherein Mattis likened Trump’s intellect to that of a “fifth or sixth grader.” However, Mattis has dismissed such claims, calling it as “fictitious.”
Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island was quoted by The New York Times as saying, “Secretary Mattis is probably one of the most qualified individuals to hold that job.”He added that Mattis’s Pentagon exit would “create a disruption in an area where there has been competence and continuity.”
Mattis aides also clarified that it is highly unlikely that the Secretary of Defence would abandon his apolitical view in leading the Department of Defence.
In March, Trump removed Rex Tillerson as the Secretary of State and appointed Pompeo to the new post. Later, the US president revealed that the two had disagreed on issues such as dealing with North Korea and Iran nuclear deal.