Just days after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced he would step down from that post in late February, President Donald Trump announced he would push the popular Cabinet member out even earlier.
In a tweet Sunday morning, Trump announced that Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will become acting secretary of defense starting Jan. 1. He praised the Pentagon’s second-in-command as having “a long list of accomplishments” and added, “He will be great!”
The move cuts short Mattis’ tenure by two months, and adds to an acrimonious end of the relationship between the commander in chief and his top military leader.
On Thursday, Mattis in a resignation letter told Trump he was making the move to allow the president to find “a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”
He said his February departure date was designed to minimize disruption on the department during the leadership transition.