Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned Thursday on the heels of President Donald Trump's plans to withdraw troops from Syria, citing irreconcilable policy differences in a move that took Washington by surprise.
"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," Mattis wrote in his letter to the President.
Mattis' resignation letter amounts to a rebuke of several of Trump's foreign policy views, with the outgoing defense secretary touting the importance of US alliances and of being "unambiguous" in approaching adversaries like Russia and China. It is devoid of any praise for the President.
Mattis did not explicitly cite his opposition to the President's planned withdrawal of US troops in Syria -- which caught US allies off guard -- but the retired four-star general was privately adamant in urging Trump against the pullback.
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