President Trump has revealed he effectively pushed General Mattis to resign from his post as secretary of defence in late 2018.
"I didn't like the job he was doing. I wasn't happy with it. I wasn't happy with the – I got him more money than the military has ever seen before. And I wasn't happy with the job that he was doing at all. And I said 'it's time.'," Trump said, speaking to the New York Times.
According to Trump, acting Secretary Shanahan, who was appointed to replace Mattis last month, is "doing a terrific job."
Mattis announced plans to step down as secretary of defence in late December, immediately after President Trump announced that he would be withdrawing the contingent of 2,000 US troops from Syria. Mattis initially planned to step down in late February, but was forced by Trump to leave by January 1.
In his resignation letter, Mattis said he made his decision because President Trump had "the right to have a secretary of state whose views are better aligned" with his own on issues including commitment to US alliances and the war against Daesh (ISIS).
*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.