President Trump is thinking about giving Defense Secretary James Mattis the boot after the November midterm elections, according to a report.
The president worries Mattis is a Democrat “at heart,” according to the New York Times. Trump has even reportedly started to call the former Marine general “Moderate Dog” instead of “Mad Dog,” a nickname Mattis never liked in the first place.
Trump is frustrated that the Pentagon chief is described as the adult in the room, White House aides and other officials told the Times, and wants someone running the department who is more of a vocal supporter, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear,” quotes Mattis comparing Trump to an elementary school student.
During a nuclear standoff with North Korea last January, the defense secretary told colleagues that the president was acting like a “fifth or sixth grader,” according to the book.
Mattis denied Woodward’s reporting and also said he isn’t behind a recent anonymous op-ed in the New York Times by a senior administration official criticizing the president.
On top of that, Trump and Mattis are at odds on policy. They’ve reportedly clashed over NATO strategy, military exercises in South Korea, banning transgender people from serving in the military and the effectiveness of Trump’s move to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal.
Mattis also reportedly rebuked a demand to stop family from going with troops deployed to South Korea, and a White House attempt to more closely supervise military operations.