Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump says he fired Mattis, who left over Syria

Trump says he fired Mattis, who left over Syria

Mr. Trump claimed he had "essentially" fired the former four-star Marine Corps general and criticized in particular Mr. Mattis' handling of the war in Afghanistan. "As you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I", he explained to reporters, contradicting an earlier statement.

At a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump said Mattis "couldn't believe" how much federal money Trump had helped secure for the military.

In one of his first meetings of the day, Shanahan told civilian leaders of the United States military to focus on "China, China, China", even as America fights militants in Syria and Afghanistan, a USA defense official said. But Trump, who was miffed by the media coverage Mattis' letter received, ordered him to leave to the Pentagon by January 1.

Mattis submitted his resignation on December 20 after a series of policy disagreements with Trump, including the president's decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

"While we are focused on ongoing operations, Acting Secretary Shanahan told the team to remember: China, China, China", the official said.

"We have some great allies, but a lot of our allies were taking advantage of our taxpayers and our country", Trump said.

Apple cuts revenue guidance because of slow sales in China
At the White House news conference , Trump was asked whether he was concerned about Apple's earlier this week. It also led to big drops overall in the US stock market, as well as other financial markets around the world.

Patrick Shanahan, the acting U.S. defence secretary, singled out China as a key priority in a "great power competition" on his first full day in his new role at the Pentagon on Wednesday, continuing a course set by his predecessor. It emphasizes the importance of great power competition with Russian Federation and China, after America's many years of fighting insurgent wars in the Middle East.

Soon after arriving at the Pentagon, Shanahan told colleagues to focus on the National Defense Strategy, a Mattis-era review that highlights "Great Power competition" with Russian Federation and China.

"I'm not happy with what (Mattis has) done in Afghanistan and I shouldn't be happy", Trump said, as Shanahan sat by his side.

The Trump administration has had a rocky relationship with China.

Shanahan had worked in the private sector and had no military or diplomatic experience when Trump appointed him deputy defense secretary in 2017. Before that, he spent more than 30 years at Boeing.

With Shanahan moving up from deputy secretary to acting secretary, the Pentagon's budget chief, David Norquist, has been chosen to fill in temporarily as the deputy secretary, according to Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson.

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