Trump also responded to criticism of the president, particularly over his treatment of allies – and the lack of praise toward Trump – featured in Mattis’s resignation letter.
I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2018
When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should. Interesting relationship-but I also gave all of the resources that he never really had. Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2018
Barack Obama, who was responsible for the nation’s security, insisted that military spending be included in the “sequester” that automatically cut government spending.
Testifying before Congress Monday evening, Secretary of Defense Mattis said “the damage has been severe” to our military as a result
No enemy in the filed has done more to harm to combat readiness of our military than sequestration. We have only sustained our ability to meet American’s commitments abroad because our troops have stoically shouldred a much greater burden.
Another gift by our leftist president to our fighting men and women, and our nation.
North Korea has just taken a fourth American hostage because Kim Jong-Un has figured out that taking hostage is a very effective way to get U.S. leaders to do what you want. Including the man you would think would be the last person susceptible to this kind of monkey business, President Trump.
Note I say U.S. leaders. I’m not convinced average Americans believe we should be trading for hostages because I believe average Americans understand that this only gets you more hostages. You don’t have to give a dog a positive reward many times before they learn a trick, and bad guys overseas fully understand they can get a treat if they take a hostage.
But American leaders let themselves get close to the families of those being held, becoming all emotionally caught up in the cases and forgetting that trading for hostages harms national security — and future hostages.
This kind of stuff goes way back and edges across Party lines. Barack Obama was perhaps the champion hostage trader, infamously giving up five Taliban Extremely Bad Guys for a single U.S. Army deserter, Bowe Bergdahl and shipping $400 million in cash over to Iran to secure the release of Americans held by the ayatollahs.
But this is not just something liberals do. Even Ronald Reagan traded arms for hostages in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Trump is off to an early start with this sort of thing, and I’m willing to bet it’s no coincidence that Kim’s hostage-taking spree began soon after Trump secured the freedom of an American woman who had been jailed Egypt.
Last month, Trump arranged for Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American, and her Egyptian husband to be released from their Egyptian prison. The two were doing humanitarian work for street kids in Egypt when they were seized in 2014. Their imprisonment was widely held to be unjust and unwarranted.
The administration claims that Egypt was offered nothing to Egypt in return for Hijazi’s release, but that’s not exactly true. Her freedom was secured after Trump lavished praise on Egyptian President al-Sissi during his trip to the White House, signaling the United States was all done with criticizing his human rights record, while Trump specifically asked for her release. Who knows if it’s true that nothing else was given?
The problem here is that Trump made a big deal of the release and drew attention to it, ensuring that our adversaries will assume al-Sissi got something for his hostage. Hijazi was released following meetings in Egypt between al-Sissi, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell. Trump also sent his senior military aide to get her and had Powell accompany her home too.
All of this high-level involvement signaled the importance to the United States of getting this person out of Egypt. That the release occurred after two of Trump’s top aides met with al-Sissi certainly must have suggested a deal to outsiders, even if there was none.
The group got back to the United States on April 20. On April 21, Trump made a spectacle of things by inviting Hijazi to the White House for an Oval Office photo op that included his daughter Ivanka.
Kim Sang-duk, an American citizen, was seized just two days after this dog and pony show at which Trump, frankly, looked a little uncomfortable. Maybe in his gut he sensed this was not a good idea. Another American, Kim Hak-Song, was taken by the North Koreans May 6.
What Kim Jong-Un no doubt saw was a brutal dictator with an egregious human rights record getting the red-carpet treatment at the White House and then returning an American to U.S. soil. That’s a very bad example to set.
We should always try to get our people out of countries where they have been unjustly imprisoned or taken hostageKim Jong-Un. But if the effort influences our treatment of their leaders or if we even appear to be giving them anything for it, we are making a big mistake, a mistake we have been making without ever learning it’s a mistake. But our enemies learn very quickly.
I’m glad to see this news emerging during a March snowstorm. I’m just saying . . .
Does this guy know that he works for someone?
From the Washington Examiner:
In a clash with President Trump’s environmental team, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has declared that climate change is a threat to national security and one military planners must consider in drawing up strategies.
According to a report from ProPublica, Mattis told Democratic senators that climate change is real and “can be a driver of instability.”
His position, at odds with President Trump and his Environmental Protection Agency chief, came in answers to questions from senators following his confirmation hearing.
Europe learns that it’s free ride is over. And guess what? They’ll pay, just, finally someone is telling them to.
From the Washington Examiner:
On his way over to NATO headquarters, the soft-spoken but hard-nosed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he would be mostly listening to concerns of his fellow defense ministers. But when he got to the table in Brussels yesterday, he delivered a stark warning to the 23 member nations who aren’t paying what they should. “America will meet its responsibilities,” Mattis said. “But if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense.”
It’s not as though the NATO nations didn’t see it coming. President Trump has been harping on the fact that, of the 28 alliance members, only five (U.S.,UK., Greece, Poland and Estonia) spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense.