UPDATED 6:51 AM PT — Friday, June 5, 2020
Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently broke his silence regarding President Trump by prompting several Republican senators to answer if they back the retired marine general or the president.
In a statement Wednesday via The Atlantic, Mattis claimed Donald Trump is the first president in his lifetime who hasn’t tried to unite the American people. He went as far to suggest that President Trump “does not even pretend to try” and, instead, “tries to divide us.”
Several members of the GOP have since responded to the statement, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) who made the following remarks:
“General Mattis’ letter was stunning and powerful. General Mattis is a man of extraordinary sacrifice. He’s an American patriot. He’s an individual whose judgment I respect and I think the world of him. If I ever had to choose somebody to be in a foxhole with, it would be with a General Mattis. What a wonderful, wonderful man.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) noted that he has great respect for Mattis, but said the choice of words in the statement aren’t what he would use to describe what’s a very difficult time in our country.
Also contrary to Mattis’ viewpoint, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said President Trump has been uniting the country during this time.
“I think the president is actually working towards uniting the country…the question is what do we see in front of us that will help unite us?” he asked. “I’m hoping we’ll have policy positions that will be supported by the White House that allows us to speak specifically to the injustices that we see and to the necessary long term changes that will be important to bringing us closer and closer together.”
Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) called Mattis a hero, but said it regards to his 2018 departure. “Once you’re fired, sometimes that affects your attitude,” he pointed out.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said division comes when the country is already divided.
“It’s hard to divide the country unless there are two sides and I think by just blaming the president, he’s only looking at half of the half of the equation,” he stated. “Clearly the country is divided, it’s divided between supporters of the president and people for whom he can’t do anything right, and that’s unfortunately where we are right now.”
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), whose vote in January helped close up President Trump’s impeachment trial, said she thought Mattis’ words were true, necessary and overdue. She also admitted she’s been struggling with whether or not she would support President Trump come November.
The president didn’t mince words with his response to Mattis. He said he didn’t like Mattis’ leadership style and is glad he’s gone.
…His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom “brought home the bacon”. I didn’t like his “leadership” style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020