Democratic Lawmaker Blasts Trump For Forcing Early Mattis Departure: 'Petty, Weak, Juvenile'

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Califf.)—a frequent Trump critic—laid into the president today for forcing out Defense Secretary James Mattis two months before he was scheduled to leave.

On Sunday morning, Trump announced on Twitter that the Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will be "assuming the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting 1 January, 2019," two months prior to Mattis' planned departure.

"I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019," Trump tweeted. "Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!"

Shortly after, Lieu described Trump's move to push Mattis out as "PETTY. WEAK. JUVENILE" on Twitter. "@realDonaldTrump has announced he would install Patrick Shanahan as Acting Secretary of Defense and force out Mattis two months early," the congressman wrote. "How to describe this? P E T T Y. W E A K. J U V E N I L E"

Via tweet, @realDonaldTrump has announced he would install Patrick Shanahan as Acting Secretary of Defense and force out Mattis two months early.

How to describe this?


— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 23, 2018

Mattis announced in a letter Thursday that he would be resigning his position, with his last day on February 28, 2019. The news came a day after Trump suddenly declared he will be pulling all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria and was widely considered a protest against the president's foreign policy.

"My view 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 on these issues," Mattis, a former U.S. Marine Corps general, wrote. "We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances."

Mattis also suggested in the letter that Trump's values were not in-line with his own. "Because you have the right to a defense secretary whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from this position," he added.

Following criticisms over Mattis' letter, the president took aim at the defense secretary yesterday, with a tweet expressing his frustration. "When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn't, I thought I should," Trump tweeted. "Interesting relationship-but I also gave all of the resources that he never really had. Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S."

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis listens as U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions during a meeting with military leaders in the Cabinet Room on October 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. On Sunday, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) criticized Trump's move to force Mattis out two months earlier as "PETTY. WEAK. JUVENILE." Getty/Win McNamee