Former Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis took a few a shots at President Donald Trump while giving a keynote address on Thursday night.
Speaking at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, Mattis joked about Trump reportedly calling him “the world’s most overrated general,” and jabbed the president for receiving a draft deferment during the Vietnam War after being diagnosed with bone spurs in his heels.
“I’m not just an overrated general, I am the greatest, the world’s most overrated,” Gen. Mattis, who resigned from his post in December, joked about Trump’s comments.
“I’m honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress,” he continued, according to TIME magazine. “So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals, and frankly, that sounds pretty good to me.”
According to Fox News, Mattis came up during a contentious White House meeting regarding Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria:
A Democratic source familiar with the meeting told Fox News that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., started to read the president a quote from Mattis from last Sunday: “And, in this case, if we don’t keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge. It’s absolutely a given that they will come back,” Mattis had said.
That’s apparently when Trump cut Schumer off and called Mattis overrated.
“You know why?” Trump reportedly said at the meeting. “He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take two years. I captured them in one month.”
Mattis’ resignation letter “said that his policy views no longer aligned with Trump’s, in particular when it came to support for American allies overseas,” noted the Military Times. “Administration officials said Trump’s promises to quickly withdraw U.S. forces from the Middle East and Afghanistan also played a factor in Mattis’ decision to step down.”
Moreover, earlier in the week, Mattis appeared on “Meet the Press” and indicated that “he does not believe administration statements that ISIS is completely defeated,” the Military Times added.
“We have got to keep the pressure on ISIS so they don’t recover,” the popular general said. “We may want a war over; we may even declare it over. You can pull your troops out — as President Obama learned the hard way out of Iraq — but the enemy gets the vote.”
Mattis went after Trump’s draft deferment during the reception, too. “I earned my spurs on the battlefield. Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor,” he told the audience.
Trump was diagnosed with bone spurs in his heels after he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, according to The New York Times. “The diagnosis resulted in a coveted 1-Y medical deferment that fall, exempting him from military service as the United States was undertaking huge troop deployments to Southeast Asia, inducting about 300,000 men into the military that year,” the report said. “The deferment was one of five Mr. Trump received during Vietnam. The others were for education.”
— TIME (@TIME) October 18, 2019