By Andrew Exum
Washington, D.C., has been especially sensitive to more signs of disloyalty from the president’s advisors ever since both the president’s chief economic advisor and his secretary of state very publicly and clearly broke ranks last week to criticize the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville.
Some of that sensitivity has extended to the secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, and whether or not he was rebuking the president in an address to some troops overseas or when he held off on banning transgender troops for serving in the U.S. military pending a review.
With respect to the former, no, and with respect to the latter, yes—but not in the way that you think.
First off, the address Mattis gave to troops in Jordan was mostly the kind of stuff he has been telling troops for four decades. (If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.) The references to the ugliness in America right now were less seditious and more an acknowledgment of the things those troops in Jordan can see with their own damn eyes. They don’t need the secretary of defense to tell them what they saw in Charlottesville, but it is nice that Mattis—the CEO of one of the world’s largest and most diverse organizations—sees it as well.
Second, the secretary’s decision to postpone any hasty action on transgender troops seems fully supported by the guidance the secretary received from the White House itself. The president’s decision to roll back the restrictions on transgender troops serving, let’s be clear, is cruel and unnecessary: it was almost entirely unsupported by any of the key voices on defense policy within the president’s own party—including John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. But the text of the order itself was unsurprisingly more …read more
Via:: The Atlantic