by Axios | Updated on 12.20.18
Just on the heels of President Trump's announcement that he would be pulling troops out of Syria, Defense Secretary James Mattis announced his resignation from the Trump administration, effective at the end of February.
Why it matters: Though Trump described Mattis' departure as a retirement, Mattis painted a picture of dissenting opinion in his resignation letter, saying he was "not aligned" with the president on key decisions. Key Republican officials are reacting to the news with reverence for Mattis and hope for the future.
What they're saying
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): "General Mattis is a combination of intellect and integrity. He has been in the fight against radical Islam for decades and provided sound and ethical military advice to President Trump."
House Speaker Paul Ryan: "The House is indebted to Secretary Mattis for his service. With our country’s defense in his hands, we have become a safer America at home, and a more commanding force abroad. His patriotism and grit are matched only by his humility and graciousness."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): "Just read Gen. Mattis resignation letter. It makes it abundantly clear that we are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances and empower our adversaries."
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.): "This is a sad day. General Mattis was giving advice POTUS needs to hear. Mattis rightly believes that Russia [and] China are adversaries, and that we are at war with jihadists across the globe who plot to kill Americans. Isolationism is a weak strategy that will harm Americans."
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) "Secretary Mattis served his country with honor. His resignation is a loss to our country’s leadership."
Go deeper: Read Mattis' resignation letter