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Tipsheet

Mattis Slaps Down MSNBC On NATO: Uh, It's Stronger Under Trump

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

If there’s one thing the liberal media likes to do, it’s to take those who were formerly with the Trump administration and try and bait them into bashing the White House. Anthony Scaramucci is probably the latest senior former official who has turned against Trump. Nothing gets headlines like intra-Trump White House drama, though that’s standard with any administration; palace intrigue is newsworthy. Just ask Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. 

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But then there’s Mad Dog Mattis. General Jim Mattis, the former secretary of defense and commander of U.S. Central Command, resigned from the Trump administration, wrote a book, and went on MSNBC to talk about it. And MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell was waiting with the chum bucket to bait Mattis into torching his former boss during her September 5 broadcast, especially on NATO. Apparently, on the Left, having NATO members paying their fair share weakens this agreement, calling them out for not paying their fair share in dues is also insulting or something. Mattis quickly ended the narrative in that line of questioning (via Free Beacon):

Mitchell quoted a portion of Mattis's new book Call Sign Chaos that criticized the Obama administration—including former vice president and 2020 candidate Joe Biden—for leaving the Middle East in "disarray" and "our friends confused."

"Aren't we at risk of making the same mistake if we withdraw from Afghanistan as the president has ordered by the end of what he says the first term?" she asked.

Mattis said the "strategy-free environment" in which he had operated for 20 years cut across party lines.

Mitchell then asked if the American alliances were weaker now than when Mattis took office in 2017, and Mattis replied, "I don't think I can quantify that."

"NATO is actually stronger today," Mattis said. "Now, there are political tensions. Those tensions have always been there in NATO where the American presidents—I remember all the way back to President Clinton when I became aware of this issue—President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, all saying the same thing President Trump is. You've got to pay more."

After Mattis deflected questions about the resurgence of the Islamic State and the Trump administration's reallocation of military funding toward border wall construction, Mitchell appeared frustrated.

"Aren't you creating a new problem when you spend money, billions of dollars to build a wall that arguably isn't needed to fulfill a campaign promise and take money away from daycare for military families?" Mitchell asked.

Mattis reiterated that he left the administration over "policy differences," and preferred to maintain a "period of silence."

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Mattis is a professional. He won’t go scorched earth, even if that’s what many in the media want him to do. 


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