Dear Mr. President,
You have the right to a secretary of defense who, like you, does not understand that “our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances.” You have the right, no matter how shortsighted and crude, to disrespect and even insult our traditional European allies without whom “we cannot protect our interests.” You have the right, despite the danger, to kowtow to “malign actors” like China and Russia and North Korea who “want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model.” And I now have the uneasy duty to inform you that my last day as secretary of defense will be February twenty-eighth, 2019. It grieves me, as it does most of the democratic world, that you will probably replace me with a fanatic and warmonger but I believe our nation and others can survive your presidency as long as you do not precipitate a nuclear war.
James N. Mattis
P.S. – Oh, after reading this letter you want me to leave now. I’d be delighted.