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Former Defense Secretary James Mattis takes dead aim at Trump in a must-read essay

U.S. Secretary of Defense / Flickr

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis didn't last too long in the Trump Administration. Last December, he resigned after disagreeing with President Trump over his decision to withdraw from Syria.

In his resignation letter he wrote that his "concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with our allies, no longer resonated" and that the president has "the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned" with his own.

Since his resignation, Mattis has been relatively silent about his brief stint in the Administration, but now he's come forward with an eloquently-written essay published in The Wall Street Journal that offers level-headed criticism of Trump.


The essay is from his new book "Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead," due September 3.

Mattis' most damning critique is calling Trump a "polemicist" — a person who attacks someone else with written or spoken words — rather than a serious leader. He says that Trump's lack of "strategic acumen" has left the U.S. in a dangerous position on the world's stage.

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"A polemicist's role is not sufficient for a leader," Mattis wrote. "A leader must display strategic acumen that incorporates respect for those nations that have stood with us when trouble loomed."

"Returning to a strategic stance that includes the interests of as many nations as we can make common cause with, we can better deal with this imperfect world we occupy together," Mattis continued. "Absent this, we will occupy an increasingly lonely position, one that puts us at increasing risk in the world."

U.S. Secretary of Defense / Flickr

In the essay, Mattis admits that he held on to his position "as long as he could."

"Using every skill I had learned during my decades as a Marine, I did as well as I could for as long as I could," Mattis wrote. "When my concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with our allies, no longer resonated, it was time to resign, despite the limitless joy I felt serving alongside our troops in defense of our Constitution."

Mattis also lamented the current state of American politics that has been ushered in by Trump.

"What concerns me most as a military man is not our external adversaries," he wrote. "It is our internal divisiveness. We are dividing into hostile tribes cheering against each other, fueled by emotion and a mutual disdain that jeopardizes our future, instead of rediscovering our common ground and finding solutions.

"On each of our coins is inscribed America's de facto motto, 'E Pluribus Unum' — from many, one," he said later. "For our experiment in democracy to survive, we must live that motto."

It's worth noting that the essay says nothing positive about the president.

One wonders if Mattis' words will have any effect on Trump's popularity within his own party. When Mattis left his position, he had a 51% approval rating among Republicans and a 75% approval rating with members of the U.S. military.

While Trump has been criticized by many for being unfit for office, can there be a more dire warning that when the same criticism comes from a man who was trusted to defend the nation?

Politics
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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