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Mattis Quit After Trump’s Syria Pullout. Here Are All the Times He Publicly Split With the President

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James Mattis will leave his post as President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Defense in February – a move that Trump billed in tweets Thursday night as a long-deserved retirement.

Mattis’ own letter of resignation – released by the Pentagon – seemed to indicate that the retired Marine general was actually being pushed out because he disagreed with Trump on policy issues.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote.

The resignation came less than 48 hours after Trump abruptly announced plans to withdraw the more than 2,000 U.S. troops serving in Syria.

Mattis had publicly supported the U.S. military’s mission in Syria, saying in September, “We are in Syria right now to defeat ISIS and destroy the geographic caliphate, and make sure it doesn’t come back the moment we will turn our back. So there’s going to be a little while that we’ve got to work with the locals.”

On Thursday, Trump tweeted: “Why are we fighting for our enemy, Syria, by staying & killing ISIS for them….Time to focus on our Country.”

The disagreement over troops in Syria is just the latest in a series of public rifts between Mattis and Trump.

Though Trump once revered Mattis as “one of the most effective generals that we’ve had in many, many decades,” their relationship had clearly drifted in recent months. Trump went as far as saying he was “sort of a Democrat” in an October interview.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters late Thursday she was “shaken by the news” of Mattis’ resignation. In remarks shared on Twitter, she called Mattis “a comfort to many of us as a voice of stability in the Trump Administration,” adding that “All of us should be concerned at this time.”

Here are the other times Mattis publicly contradicted the Commander-in-Chief.

Afghanistan pullout

The Associated Press reported Thursday night that Trump is planning to order a dramatic reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, pulling up to half of the 14,000 U.S. forces out of the country after 17 years of war.

Mattis has argued for sending additional resources there to end the war and stabilize the country.

“We are going to stand with the 41 nations. The largest wartime coalition in modern history is the NATO-led campaign in Afghanistan,” Mattis said earlier this month. “The Taliban have made very clear that the lives of the Afghan people are of no interest to them. They know they cannot win at the ballot box.”

He added: “I would just tell you that if we leave, 20 odd of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world centered in that region, and we walk out of there, then we know what will happen. Our intelligence services are very specific that we will be under attack in a number of years — a very few number of years.”

Troops at the U.S.-Mexico border

When the White House released a memo authorizing troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to use lethal force, if necessary, against what Trump called an “invasion” of migrants, Mattis clarified that the troops wouldn’t even have firearms.

“They’re not even carrying guns, for Christ’s sake,” he said.

Transgender troop ban

Mattis also pushed back on Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members.

Mattis was on vacation during Trump’s surprise Twitter announcement, and had reportedly only been given one day’s notice of Trump’s intention to reverse the Obama-era decision allowing transgender people to openly serve.

In the months that followed, Mattis effectively slow-rolled implementation of Trump’s plan by establishing a panel of experts to recommend how the Department of Defense should proceed.

South Korean military exercises

A day after Mattis told reporters there were “no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises” with South Korea, Trump tweeted that they would cease.

“The President believes that his relationship with Kim Jong Un is a very good and warm one,” Trump posted to his personal twitter account in third-person. “There is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games.”

The Space Force

Though he eventually offered support to Trump’s plan to establish a “Space Force,” Mattis initially broke with Trump on its creation as a separate branch in the military.

“I strongly urge Congress to reconsider the proposal of a separate service Space Corps,” Mattis wrote to lawmakers in July 2017. “I believe it is premature to add additional organizational and administrative tail to the Department at a time I am trying to reduce overhead.”

NATO and U.S. allies

Mattis was also a firm believer in NATO’s power to preserve global peace. “If you didn’t have NATO, you would have to invent it,” Mattis said, according to reporting by veteran journalist Bob Woodward. Trump ceded to Mattis on the matter. “You can have your NATO,” Woodward reported Trump told Mattis, “but you become the rent collector.”

In his resignation letter, Mattis wrote: “While the U.S. remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.”

Mattis’ full letter of resignation can be read below:

Dear Mr. President:

I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.

I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliance and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including proving effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours: It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions — to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity, and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my positions. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensure the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732.079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock missions to protect the American people.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.

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Write to Abby Vesoulis at abby.vesoulis@time.com