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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary James Mattis learned in May from a colleague that President Donald Trump had made the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, and scrambled to get his boss on the phone before a formal announcement was made. It wouldn’t be the last time he was caught off guard by a presidential announcement.
A month later, Mattis was informed that Trump had ordered a pause in U.S. military exercises with South Korea only after the president had already promised the concession to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The article goes on to state the following:
Last week, Trump again blindsided and overruled his defense secretary by publicly directing the Pentagon to create a sixth military branch overseeing operations in space.
The way these recent presidential decisions on major national security issues have played out, as detailed by current and former White House and defense officials, underscores a significant change in Mattis’s role in recent months. The president is relying less and less on the advice of one of the longest-serving members of his cabinet, the officials said.
“They don’t really see eye to eye,” said a former senior White House official who has closely observed the relationship.
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