In a statement released on Tuesday, Mattis said that "the idea that I would show contempt for the elected Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, or tolerate disrespect to the office of the President from within our Department of Defense, is a product of someone's rich imagination."
According to the Post’s account of the book, Mattis after the meeting "was particularly exasperated and alarmed," saying that the President acted like – and had the understanding of – “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”
Mattis outlined in his statement that "responsible policymaking in the real world is inherently messy," and that it is essential to “challenge every assumption to find the best option.” He also mentioned that he had always welcomed the open debate and the competition of ideas that “yielded significant results." He mentioned the near destruction of the Daesh* forces along with NATO allies, repatriation of US service member remains from North Korea and the improvement of the US armed forces as examples.
“Our defense policies have also enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress,” Mattis added.
Bob Woodward’s book is set to released on September 11. It has already been criticized by the White House officials as being no more than a series of "fabricated stories," while Trump called it "a con on the public" in his tweets.
*Daesh, also known as ISIS/ISIL, is a terrorist group banned in the US, Russia and many other countries.