FAIRBANKS, Alaska - President Donald Trump has expedited the departure of Defense Secretary James Mattis after all the attention from the letter Mattis wrote on his way out the door. As of January 1, our country's 26th Secretary of Defense, James Mattis has officially stepped down from his position.
In a letter to the President, Mattis explained in part, why he was resigning, writing, "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."
In particular, these views regard on where to place the country's service men and women.
American Historian Michael Beschiloss explained that this is not often an action taken in the country.
"We have never seen a Secretary of Defense not only resign in protest but resign with this ringing indictment of the president who appointed him," he said.
Now many fear there may be a strike from enemies, like Vladimir Putin, while the White House is in a vulnerable state. Former Secretary of State, William Cohen expressed his concern for what may happen next.
“You can expect your adversaries to try and take advantage of that and embarrass you. As you're now preparing to pull up stakes and leave, the one thing you can probably count on is they can launch an attack when you are most vulnerable," Cohen said.
Other Secretaries of Defense have resigned in the past. According to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Elliot Richardson resigned abruptly from the Richard Nixon Administration in October 1973 after declining to support the president's decision to fire a Watergate special prosecutor Richardson had appointed. William Perry also made the decision to step down as defense secretary shortly after President Clinton's re-election in November 1996, later explaining that his decision to retire was "largely due to the constant strain of sending U.S. military personnel on life-threatening missions."
Former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan has replaced Mattis.