WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose experience and stability were widely seen as a balance to an unpredictable president, resigned on Thursday in protest of President Trump’s decision to withdraw 2,000 American troops from Syria.
Mr. Trump announced Mr. Mattis’s resignation in two tweets Thursday evening, and said the retired four-star Marine general turned Pentagon chief will leave at the end of February.
Officials said Mr. Mattis went to the White House on Thursday afternoon in a last attempt to convince Mr. Trump to keep American troops in Syria, where they have been fighting the Islamic State. He was rebuffed, and told the president that he was resigning as a result.
Hours later, the Pentagon released Mr. Mattis’s resignation letter, in which he implicitly criticized his commander in chief. Mr. Mattis said in the letter that he believes that the president deserves a defense secretary who is more in tune with his worldview.
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