James Mattis is a veteran and ex-general of the US Army. He was also a Secretary of the Defense under President Donald Trump. He resigned in December 2018, due to policy differences with President Trump. In his recent interview with The Atlantic, Mattis presents himself as a true patriot and an officer that is always loyal to his country and nation, regardless of the politics.
The direct reason of Mattis' resignation was Trump's idea of withdrawing the troops from Syria. But in reality, Mattis had a difficult position on many issues and matters. Mattis, that never married and is single and 69 years old, is nicknamed as "The Warrior Monk" by his friends from the Army. He served in the Persian Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. During his military career, he earned dozens of awards for his excellent service to the country.
But regardless of his dislike to Trump's policies, Mattis stays loyal to Trump as commander-in-chief. "If you leave an administration, you owe some silence. When you leave an administration over clear policy differences, you need to give the people who are still there as much opportunity as possible to defend the country," he said. He also added that "we have to give the people who are protecting us some time to carry out their duties without me adding my criticism to the cacophony that is right now so poisonous.”
Mattis' main reason for his resignation was how Trump, in his view, treated the allies of the USA. And how he disregarded all alliances that the USA made in the last decades. Like he wrote in his resignation letter, "we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies."
Mattis also recalls who are his model roles for political and military leadership. One of them is George Washington and his idea of leadership as "first you listen, then you learn, then you help, and only then do you lead," like Mattis paraphrased Washington's ideals.
In the long editorial in The Atlantic, Mattis also said that the Americans should stand united, regardless of their political differences. He said that the Americans should feel the affection, "for one another and for their country but often, these days, don’t." Mattis also praised Abraham Lincoln for what he said "in the middle of the "American Civil War. “With malice toward none, with charity for all,’ he quoted Lincoln's words and praised him that he could "see beyond the hatred of the moment."