Jim Mattis, U.S. secretary of defense, listens during a news conference at the Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in Stanford, California, U.S. (Photographer: Josh Edelson/Bloomberg)

Trump Hints Pentagon Chief Mattis May Be Planning to Quit

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump hinted that U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis may be planning to quit his administration, and described the former U.S. Marine Corps general as “sort of a Democrat.”

In an excerpt from a “60 Minutes” interview that will air in full Sunday on CBS, Trump talked about the level of turnover in his administration after almost two years, and suggested there could be more to come.

Trump Hints Pentagon Chief Mattis May Be Planning to Quit

“There are some people that I’m not happy with. I have some people that I’m not thrilled with. And I have other people that I’m beyond thrilled with,” the president said, according to a transcript provided by CBS.

Mattis “hasn’t told me” that he plans to leave, Trump said, and didn’t directly answer the question of whether he’d like the Pentagon chief to depart.

“I had lunch with him two days ago. I have a very good relationship with him. It could be that he is. I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. “He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody. People leave. That’s Washington.”

Mattis was one of Trump’s first cabinet picks after the 2016 election. He was long seen as a force for stability in foreign policy in an administration that has had to manage crises from North Korea to Syria under a president who prides himself on his unpredictability.

But the Pentagon chief has been on the defensive after excerpts from author Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” painted the publicly taciturn military man as being critical of Trump in private.

Mattis has also become less central to Trump’s foreign policy team as the president has developed a closer rapport over recent months with National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who both came aboard in the spring.

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