Trump made his comments speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday before a bilateral meeting with Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain, saying that General Mattis said at the time that US troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
“You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'” Trump recalled. “I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'”
Trump puts words in Mattis's mouth, says that when he took office, Mattis told him, "'Sir, we're very low on ammunition' ... and I said, you know what? General, I never want to hear that again from another general. Not president should ever, ever hear that statement." pic.twitter.com/u8kSSqT9bb— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 16, 2019
“And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general. No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition,'” Trump said, adding that the problem was inherited from Obama’s administration.
Mattis, who resigned last year in protest of Trump's initial decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria, declined to respond to the president’s comments.
Trump also added that the US now has “more missiles, more rockets, more tanks, more — we have more of everything than we’ve ever had before. More jet fighters.” He said that at the beginning of his presidency, 50% of jet fighters didn’t fly and were in “bad shape,” without giving any specific indications as to which jets he was referring to.