Russia Welcomes Mattis Resignation, Says He Shared Democrats' Policies, but Europe's Leaders Panic

European leaders in a panic over the resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who was widely dubbed the last "adult in the room" in the Trump administration. But at least one Russian official suggested that Mattis's decision to resign was natural, given the defense secretary's and the president's divergent views over the U.S. relationship with Russia.

Reporters speaking with European leaders noted that U.S. allies were alarmed that the resignation signaled a major shift in U.S. foreign policy, especially since President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed his disdain for NATO—the transatlantic alliance that has been the bedrock of U.S. foreign relations for the past 70 years. In his resignation letter, Mattis also hinted that the president didn't share the defense secretary's respect for U.S. allies.

"The resignation deprives Europe of one of its most reliable interlocutors and a firm supporter of the NATO transatlantic alliance," Patrick Wintour, the diplomatic correspondent for the The Guardian wrote. "It is seen in Europe as an alarming symbol of Trump's determination to take personal charge of foreign policy, and the pointed reference in his resignation letter to the need to treat allies with respect will echo across a continent alienated by the president's insults and caprice.

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James Mattis, U.S. secretary of defense, exits after a news conference. European leaders in a panic over the resignation of Mattis, who was widely dubbed the last “adult in the room” in the Trump administration. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

"Above all, however, the resignation shows the depth of the foreign policy chasm between Trump and even mainstream Republicans on the U.S.'s responsibilities to Europe and the Middle East," Wintour continued.

Carl Bildt, a former prime minister of Sweden and a major voice in international policy discussions, tweeted his dismay over the departure of Mattis.

"A morning of alarm in Europe. SecDef Mattis is the remaining strong bond across the Atlantic in the Trump administration. All the others are fragile at best or broken at worst," Bildt tweeted.

The chairman of the German Bundestag, Norbert Rottgen, agreed.

"With Mattis the last voice of reason leaves the administration... Not a good day for the Transatlantic relationship," Rottgen tweeted.

In Russia, however, the response was quite the opposite. Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee for Russia's upper house of parliament, wrote on his Facebook page that Mattis was leaving because his position toward Russia resembles that of the Democratic Party.

"One can thus draw a conclusion that Trump deviated from Mattis's stance as far as attitude toward Washington's allies, relations with Russia and China and a reduction of America's presence abroad are concerned. It is not for nothing that he considered Mattis to be 'somewhat of a Democrat.' This is indeed closer to the Democratic Party's line," Kosachev wrote.

In October, Trump told CBS's 60 Minutes that Mattis is "sort of a Democrat" and might resign.

Trump announced early Thursday evening that Mattis would be stepping down in February. The decision was made after Trump announced that the U.S. would be pulling all its troops out of Syria. On Friday he announced that the number of U.S. military personnel stationed in Afghanistan would be cut in half.

Russia Welcomes Mattis Resignation, Says He Shared Democrats' Policies, but Europe's Leaders Panic | World