Jim Mattis Rebukes of Trump’s Worldview

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The New York Times headline covers the story on the recent resignation from office of the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Jim Mattis, as a way of protesting Trump’s administration.

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The headline used by The New York Times was effective in summarizing the story in a generalized term. The author, Helene Cooper, grabs the reader’s attention effectively by inducing further reading and stating Mattis’ decision to walk way was his disapproval of Trump’s “worldview” (2018). Upon reading the article in its entirety, one finds the reason for the resignation was more narrow than that. In particular, the Secretary quit after the Commander in Chief delivered a public message announcing the official retrieval of US military units Syria.

The author of the article, Helene Cooper, continued to explain a series of events that led to the resignation of Mattis to his position in the White House, as the primary adviser in national security matters. The author continues (Cooper, 2018) to detail that Mattis himself carried his resignation, typed in official letterhead, to President Trump on 20th December 2018. The setting for the event was at the White House, Washington D.C. Although there are many underlying factors of disagreements prior to this event, the ultimate reason for the resignation can be summarized by saying that both parties had different agendas and unparelled views on military and defense strategy. Mattis believed that incorporating US relations with allied nations was a strong asset for America and it showed strengh. This explains why his resignation letter reads “we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies” (Cooper, 2018).

Clearly, the parties had opposing views of how the nation should manage the military forces overseas and which operations were to be supported. Helene describes Mattis as feeling stronghold and upheld his position that providing a strong military presence in certain key locations served to avert the enemies and avoid war, and the withdrawal of troops in those keen locations could bring back the chaos to those areas. This was particularly true in relation to ISIS, whose terrorism was not evident until after the US departure from Iran six years ago.

The coalition forces were brough in to Syria to help protect the local citizens from the terrorist force and those efforts significantly diminished their attacks. Furthermore, the news state that most the president’s cabinet, to include Senators Mark Warner and Ben Sasse, along with many other advisers were saddened by the resignation as they saw Mattis as an “island of stability” around the chaos of Trump’s administration. Many White House representations believed Mattis’ experience and professional advice to the President helped keep the nation safe.

This was said to be the most public way of protesting Trump’s administration since 1980 when then-Secretary of State Vince resigned over another national security issue to former President Carter.

The connection found between the articles selected and what I know about leadership is that one should always stick to his/her guts even when is not the most popular thing to do. As leaders, we are asked to make difficult decisions, and those decisions, may or may not go in accord to our personal beliefs. One should ask: Is it Ethical, Illegal or Immoral? If it is, or if it goes against what the individual believes to be right, then a good leader will make the right decision. I find this article describes many aspects of good leadership and followership. Being in this key role, Mattis stood by President Trump and some of his decisions, even when he disagreed with them. However, Mattis reached a point where he could not, because of his own morals and beliefs, support the President’s decisions. Being a good leader takes Education and Experience, Honor, Integrity, Decision-Making, and Trust. In this case, it appears Mattis did not feel his professional skills and experience in advising the president were taken into consideration, which created a lack of trust in the relationship.

The story included a link that redacted the resignation letter. It also used historical records, with specific names and dates that added to the validity of the story. I did not find the story was exaggerated to capture the reader’s attention, and it included a few videos and links the some of the material redacted. These links and videos served as supporting documentation. The link provided to the letter allowed me to read what the letter exactly said versus having only the article’s writer perspective.


  1. Cooper, H. (2018, December 20). Jim Mattis Resigns, Rebuking Trump’s Worldview. Retrieved December 29, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/us/politics/jim-mattis-defense-secretary-trump.html
  2. The New York Times. (2018, December 20). Read Jim Mattis’s Letter to Trump: Full Text. Retrieved December 29, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/us/politics/letter-jim-mattis-trump.html?module=inline
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Jim Mattis Rebukes of Trump's Worldview. (2019, Apr 05). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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