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Ruppersberger: Resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis a “Nightmare”

Dec 21, 2018
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger today issued the following statement after Defense Secretary James Mattis announced his resignation effective at the end of February 2019:

“I am a Defense Appropriator who has met with Secretary Mattis many times. For the past two years, I've told family, friends, colleagues and constituents that I sleep better at night knowing that James Mattis is the Secretary of Defense. Last night, I had nightmares.

Many of us have relied on Secretary Mattis to be someone inside the Trump Administration willing to speak truth to power. He has worked hard not only to prevent the use of force, but to ensure that our troops are equipped and ready if we must. Secretary Mattis once said that if we continue to deplete the State Department’s budget, he’s ‘going to need to buy more ammo.’ I have quoted this often.

Frankly, the world is safer with Secretary Mattis behind the wheel at the Defense Department.  The President's recent decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria – for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way – is an example of the sort of decision we can expect from the White House without Secretary Mattis in the room. This makes it all the more important for Congress to debate our current Authorizations for Use of Military Force, and determine what role the United States Armed Forces will have overseas moving forward. I look forward to tackling this critical issue with my colleagues as soon as possible.

Secretary Mattis' expertise has been invaluable during the most dangerous times our country has ever seen, with threats coming from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, terrorists and cyber criminals. We are indebted to Secretary Mattis for his 50 years in public service.”