US Defense Secretary James Matisse of the Trump administration was widely expected to leave in the near term, but his official letter of resignation on Thursday still shook Washington, DC, and discovered defense officials and lawmakers.
This news follows the departure of a series of senior military generals in the White House, specifically Marines who served brilliantly during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of these marines now left the White House Trump amid numerous reports of disagreements or criticisms of Trump.
The picture above, taken in 2013, was the first time that six of the four-star navy generals were actively serving in the Marine Corps.
- Jim MatisseThe defense minister announced his resignation on Thursday and is expected to leave by February. On Sunday, his departure was accelerated to Jan. 1 after Trump announced that his replacement, Patrick Chanahan, was due to take over. Mattis was a four-star general who led the US Central Command and was celebrated as a top choice to lead the world's most powerful army. He referred to the differences with Trump's policies as the reason for his decision to resign from the Defense Ministry.
- John KellyThe former chief of staff at the White House, a four-star general in the Marine Corps, once led the South American command. He served as Secretary of Homeland Security before being selected by Trump as Chief of Staff. Kelly was expected to bring order to a messy western wing. But he faced volatile winds and sometimes clashed with Trump on a number of issues.
- Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, served as commander of the Marine Corps and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. His term ends as the top commander of the US Army in September 2019. Trump announced the US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Millie as his replacement, despite some reports that expressed fears of Matisse.
- John Allen, Former commander of the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, did not serve in the Trump administration. Instead, he was an outspoken critic of Trump throughout his campaign and presidency. During a speech at the National Democratic Congress in 2016, Allen Hillary Clinton and Trump's semi-presidency supported "commercial treatment" for "illegal activities". Trump responded to Allen through a twinkle and said his fight against the dodger "failed badly".
The different exits of the officers may vary, but Trump's generals – the service members he has spoken to throughout his campaign and the first days of his presidency – now leave a visible void in the White House.
In addition to the Marines who will have left the Trump administration, McMaster, a three-star general, was released as a national security adviser from Trump in March. His tenure was characterized by numerous reports of disagreements with Trump, whom he once described as "a man of immense talent and vast experience."
McMaster replaced a three-star US general as a national security adviser, General Michael Flynn, who after being found to have lied to the FBI and senior White House officials about his contacts with Russian officials.