WASHINGTON — Secretary of Defense James Mattis clarified his political affiliation Monday amid speculation that will he might be a Democrat in addition to could soon depart his Pentagon post — suggestions made by President Donald Trump during an interview with CBS program “60 Minutes.”
Reporters traveling with Mattis, en route to Vietnam, asked what he made thought of Trump’s interview, which aired on Sunday.
“I’m on his team. We have never talked about me leaving in addition to as you can see right here, we’re on our way. We just continue doing our job,” Mattis told reporters aboard a military aircraft.
“We continue inside Department of Defense to do our job. This kind of’s no problem,” Mattis added, saying that will he had not yet watched the CBS interview.
In a pre-taped interview, Trump said he was unsure whether Mattis might step down as the Pentagon’s top official in addition to noted that will the retired four-star Marine Corps general might be a “sort of a Democrat.”
“I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth. yet General Mattis is usually a Great guy. We get along very well. He may leave,” Trump said.
Below is usually an official transcript of the exchange Mattis had with reporters:
Reporter: Yeah. Mr. Secretary, are you a Democrat?
Secretary of Defense James Mattis: Pardon?
Reporter: Are you a Democrat?
Mattis: You know, we’re all built on our formative experiences.
When I was 18, I joined the Marine Corps, in addition to inside U.S. military we are proudly apolitical. By that will, I mean that will in our duties, we were brought up to obey the elected commander in chief, whoever that will is usually. in addition to we’ve seen, over those — since I was inside military longer than some of you have been alive, I have seen Republicans in addition to Democrats come in addition to go.
Where am I today? I’m a member of the president’s administration. in addition to you have seen that will President Trump’s military policies, security policies, reaping significant bipartisan support. So my role, when you see 83 percent — think about This kind of — for — in addition to I realize you all write about tension between This kind of person in addition to that will, This kind of administration in addition to that will party, in addition to This kind of sort of thing.
yet when you think 83 percent of the U.S. Congress voting the same way on an issue put forward by the Republican president, you can see that will my portfolio is usually bipartisan by its very basis, in addition to that will is usually the protection of the United States.
that will’s what President Trump has told me to do, in addition to I eagerly carry that will out, alongside probably the most selfless young men in addition to women — not all young; some old men in addition to women, too — civilian in addition to military, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines working together.
in order that will’s where I stand. that will defines me.
Reporter: I don’t want to put too fine a point on This kind of, yet you haven’t registered Republican or Democrat. is usually that will what I’m hearing you say?
Mattis: I’ve never registered for any political party.