07:36 GMT +317 November 2019
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    'Like a Squirrel Caught in Traffic': US Official Reveals Details of Trump’s First Pentagon Briefing

    © REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
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    Guy Snodgrass, who served as a speechwriter for ex-Defence Secretary James Mattis, wrote in his upcoming book that President Trump looked annoyed at the meeting.

    Guy Snodgrass claims President Trump couldn’t focus during his first meeting with Pentagon officials. In excerpts of his book published by Politico, Snodgrass asserted the 45th president offered a few greetings when he entered the room and sat with a frown on his face as Defence Secretary Mattis, the then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and other senior officials were preparing to inform him about US policies. Snodgrass claimed that officials were nervous and concerned by Trump’s plans to leave NATO and the Paris Climate Agreement, terminate the nuclear deal with Iran and withdraw US forces from Japan, Germany, and South Korea.

    "In private, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mattis feared these actions signaled America’s diminished authority as a world leader and emboldened China, Russia and Iran to fill the vacuum. They felt incredible pressure to educate the president, believing that if only Trump could be made to recognize the value of American allies and the stability afforded by the presence of our troops, he’d reconsider and alter course", Snodgrass wrote in his book.

    However, when General Mattis began his speech and got into the details about why the White House should keep US forces abroad, Trump reportedly got bored. In the middle of the meeting Trump supposedly burst out: “I just returned from France. Did you see President Macron’s handshake?”, he reportedly asked people in the room. “He wouldn’t let go. He just kept holding on. I spent two hours at Bastille Day. Very impressive”, Trump purportedly said.

    Snodgrass described how after his comment about President Macron, President Trump allegedly began speaking about his wish to organise a "Victory Day" similarly noting that “the fourth of July is too hot".

    "I want vehicles and tanks on Main Street, on Pennsylvania Avenue, from the Capitol to the White House. We need spirit! We should blow everybody away with this parade. The French had an amazing parade on Bastille Day with tanks and everything. Why can’t we do that?”, Trump purpotedly said.

    Snodgrass claimed that for the rest of the meeting President Trump jumped from one topic to another: “Syria, Mexico, a recent Washington Post story he didn’t like – like a squirrel caught in traffic". The official claimed that all Trump’s answers on issues of geopolitical importance were simplistic and ad hoc.

    Guy Snodgrass served as the speechwriter for Defence Secretary General Mattis until 2018, when Mattis resigned in protest over Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. Since his resignation Mattis has remained silent about the president and his role in the Trump administration. However, Trump and Mattis recently traded insults.

    Trump purportedly called the general overrated discussing his recent decision to withdraw US troops from the Syria-Turkey border. Mattis took a jab at Trump during a speech at the 74th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, saying "I earned my spurs on the battlefield ... Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor".

    Guy Snodgrass's book "Holding the Line: Inside Trump's Pentagon With Secretary Mattis" will be released on 29 October.

    national security, China, Iran, Russia, Pentagon, Syria, Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump, James Mattis
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