Lawmakers and national security experts are questioning whether Defense Secretary James Mattis can maintain a strong relationship with President Trump in the wake of reports that the White House has looked for a successor to the Pentagon chief, and reporting in Bob Woodward’s book of Mattis’s frustrations with the president.
Mattis quickly put out a statement this past week describing Woodward’s book as fiction and denying insults attributed to him regarding Trump. The president, for his part, publicly thanked Mattis for the “nicest quote about me,” signaling a deep appreciation for the Defense secretary’s words.
“I did appreciate his statement,” Trump said. “He didn’t have to write that statement. But I did appreciate it.”