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Trump Reportedly Keeping DefSec Mattis Out of the Loop on National Security Decisions

Secretary of Defense Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis is being excluded from policy-making and national security decisions by President Donald Trump, up to and include military exercises in Korea and the “Space Force”, according to a new report from NBC News.

The NBC report, citing “current and former administration officials,” details a long, slow cooling off of the working relationship between the Secretary and the President, “in part because he’s come to believe his defense secretary looks down on him and slow-walks his policy directives.”

“We’ve seen this coming, and it has something to do with the reconfiguration of the national security cabinet,” said MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell in her report on the story on Monday. “But it really is telling given South Korea, the joint exercises — this was a concession to Kim Jong-un at the table in Singapore, without really consulting the Secretary of Defense.”

Carol Lee, one of of the two reporters who broke the story, responded to Mitchell that Mattis was left out of the decision, although he knew it might be part of the talks.

“Right. And even when we spoke to people inside the White House and they were addressing each of the points in the story, a White House official said, ‘well, you know, Mattis knew that it was possible that Trump may do something like this’ but the President was in the meeting with the leader of North Korea and just made the decision,” she said. She added that Mattis found out from another official and then had to adjust accordingly.

“Another administration official then told the Defense Secretary that this had happened, and he then had to find a way to prepare for that,” she said.

NBC’s article adds that there does not appear to be ill will.

One defense official said there is no indication Trump is unhappy with Mattis, just that he is not in the inner decision-making circle anymore. The official said Mattis does not contradict the president publicly or in the media and does not draw the president’s ire.

The administration has pushed back on the article, with chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White calling the report “pure silliness.” National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis told NBC, on behalf of the White House, “for an unnamed expert to claim a department is not in the loop is ludicrous.”

Watch the clip above, courtesy of MSNBC.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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