After being rebuked for his handling of the George Floyd protests by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, President Trump posted a series of tweets criticizing the retired general, writing, “Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General.” However, a review of Trump’s comments about Mattis in the weeks following the 2016 election and the early days of his presidency paint a very different picture. Watch Trump in his early interactions with “great man” Gen. James Mattis.
- Mr. President-elect, will you choose General Mattis as [INAUDIBLE]?
DONALD TRUMP: All I can say is he is the real deal. He is the real deal.
- Is General Mattis going to be secretary of defense?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, we think he's a great guy. I mean, he is some-- he is some great man.
We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of defense.
But we're not announcing it till Monday, so don't tell anybody.
General Mattis is the living embodiment of the Marine Corps motto semper fidelis, always faithful. And the American people are fortunate that a man of this character and integrity will now be the civilian leader atop the Department of Defense.
This is for General Mattis, who was approved today, as you know. Where would you like that?
REINCE PRIEBUS: Right here, so right there.
DONALD TRUMP: Now last night, as you know, General Mattis-- fantastic guy-- and General Kelly got approved.
And Mike Pompeo was supposed to be in that group. It was going to be the three of them. Can you imagine all of these guys? People respect-- you know, they respect that military sense.
We have a great general who has just been appointed secretary of defense, General James Mattis. And he has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding or however you want to define it. Enhanced interrogation I guess would be a word that a lot of words-- that a lot of people would like to use. I don't necessarily agree, but I would tell you that he will override because I'm giving him that power.
He's a man of honor, a man of devotion, and a man of total action. He likes action. He is the right man at the right time, and he will do us all very, very proud.
I think we'll give this pen to [INAUDIBLE] What do you think? Secretary Mattis, [INAUDIBLE].