Trump trashes Mattis after exit: 'What's he done for me?'

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President Donald Trump says Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will leave his post on January 1.

In his Cabinet meeting remarks with reporters present, Trump said he was in no rush to get USA troops out of Syria but did not clarify a timetable.

"What's he done for me?" Not too good. I'm not happy with what he's done in Afghanistan and I shouldn't be happy. "I'm not happy with what he's done in Afghanistan and I shouldn't be happy", Trump said, according to the New York Times.

"Thanks to Mad Dog Mattis that we have great military leaders".

It said Republican senators Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham and former Republican Senator Jim Talent had also been mentioned as possible replacements for Mattis.

The president - who was exempted from the draft during the Vietnam War over bone spurs - added that US generals have done a bad job in Afghanistan over almost two decades and said that he thinks he "would've been a good general, but who knows".

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Trump's public posture toward Mattis chilled quickly after.

As for Mattis, he originally offered to remain in his post through February to pave the way for a new defense secretary and prepare for an upcoming North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministerial. Trump could face an uphill battle finding someone who can be confirmed by the Senate after Mattis' acrimonious departure.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang tried to smooth over relations at a press conference Thursday, in response to Shanahan reportedly making efforts to counter Beijing as his top priority.

"I wish him well".

In fact, Mattis tendered his resignation in response to Trump's announcement that he would withdraw all 2,000 USA troops deployed to Syria within the next several months. Mattis and other Trump advisers tried unsuccessfully to persuade Trump to stay in Syria long enough to ensure that the Islamic State group, which has largely been defeated on the battlefield, can not regroup.

In a resignation letter that amounted to a rebuke of Trump's view on how to treat alliances and adversaries, Mattis wrote, "My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues".

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