Donald Trump's former Chief of Staff John Kelly today confirmed that Trump was lying when he said he demanded the resignation of former defense secretary Jim Mattis.
"The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation. The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."
"Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us," Mattis wrote in a statement published by the Atlantic, which Trump later criticized in a tweet.
From the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey:
"The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation," Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, said in an interview. "The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused. The president tweeted a very positive tweet about Jim until he started to see on Fox News their interpretation of his letter. Then he got nasty. Jim Mattis is a honorable man."
Mattis tendered his resignation in 2018, citing his disagreement with Trump's decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria.
On Wednesday, he released a statement criticizing Trump's handling of protests that have erupted across the country following the killing of George Floyd in police custody last week.
Mattis accused Trump of deliberately trying to divide Americans, taking exception to his threats of military force on U.S. streets, and praising those demanding justice following death of Floyd, an African American man living in Minneapolis.