>> It's not my fault, I didn't put us there.>> With his newly installed interim defense secretary next to him, President Trump on Wednesday had harsh words for his outgoing one, General James Mattis.>> But what's he done for me? How's he done in Afganistan? Not too good, not too good.
I'm not happy with what he's done in Afghanistan, and I shouldn't be happy.>> Mattis resigned after falling out with Trump, including over Trump's surprise decision to withdraw all troops form Syria and start planning a draw down in Afghanistan. And even though Mattis made his reason for quitting apparent in a detailed letter, Trump on Wednesday said he was fired.
>> So I mean, I wish him well, I hope he does well. But as you know, President Obama fired him. And essentially so did.>> After Maddis resigned, Trump has left to defend his Syria policy amid withering criticism. Reuters correspondent, Jonathan Landay, says the president now seems to be feeling the heat.
>> So it appears that people who have been counseling the president against a precipitous pullout of US troops from Syria may have been getting to him. That's because when it was first reported that he had decided to withdraw from Syria, he had ordered a complete and immediate pullout.
But today at a Cabinet meeting->> I think it's just over a period of time. But we're withdrawing.>> Indicating that he may well have agreed to slow down a US troop withdrawal.>> In his fist cabinet meeting of the year, Trump seemed to promote a profit forward vision of American foreign power, questioning why US was in Syria if there was no incentive.
>> We're not talking about vast wealth, we're talking about sand and death.>> The president describes Syria as quote, nothing but sand and death, unquote. Apparently not paying heed to the fact that Islamic State still controls slivers of territory there, has not been defeated according to many US officials.
And it appears that he is trying to give justification for pulling US troops out of Syria, who were sent there to fight ISIS, but also to advise and train local militias, particularly Kurds, in fighting ISIS as well.>> But now the problem of getting out of Syria will be acting Defense Secretary, Patrick Shanaughan's problem.