US Defence Chief Jim Mattis, "Sort Of Democrat", May Go: Donald Trump

Mattis' future was thrown into question by Trump's interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday in which the president speculated Mattis might depart and might be a Democrat.

President Trump on Saturday confirmed The Washington Post's Friday report that his administration is considering ways to legally revive its suspended policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border. "I think he's sort of a Democrat, if you wanna know the truth". "He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves", he added. "He hasn't told me that".

Mattis, 68, a four-star Marine Corps general until he retired in 2013, was one of the first officials to be confirmed to Trump's cabinet.

While Bolton and Pompeo also have taken a hard line on Russia, Trump has often expressed a desire for better relations with Russia's President Vladimir Putin. And we will know more when he gets back.

Such visits by USA defense secretaries have until now been exceedingly rare, and Mattis's presence strongly signals the importance Washington sees in further enhancing ties with a former foe amid rising tensions with China. "We just continue doing our job", he told reporters.

However, Mattis denied making the comments and dismissed Woodward's reporting as "fiction".

"This is why people like Donald Trump". Instead, facts like these ones seemed to be assumed on the part of the viewership at home, and the silences were filled by Trump, who explained away why orthodoxies were wrong while Stahl struggled to break into his monologues. "We have never talked about me leaving", Mattis said.

Trump has overruled Mattis on several policy issues, including on the administration's plan to create a new military branch called the "space force". "I think the secretary of state will be airborne shortly". When Trump moved to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran, Mattis, a hardliner on Iran's "malign influence" in the region, said that elements of the deal restricting Iran's nuclear and missile programs should be preserved.

In a policy speech this month, Vice President Mike Pence accused Beijing of meddling in upcoming USA elections and condemned China's aggressive moves in the South China Sea.

Mattis flew to Vietnam for his second visit this year to the country with which the US fought a 10-year war. However Mattis had never identified himself as a Republican, nor as a Democrat.

"It'll die down", Mattis told reporters on the steps of the Pentagon, while greeting a visiting dignitary.

  • Rogelio Becker