>> US Defense Secretary James Mattis will step down at the end of February, saying in a letter on Thursday, that his views do not line up with those of the President. Mattis's resignation letter stressing the importance of America's network of alliances in the face of rising threats from Russia and China.
Quote, 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, and going on to tell the president, quote, 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.
The resignation coming a day after President Donald Trump declared he would withdraw all US troops from Syria.>> Now we've won, it's time to come back.>> Saying the mission against Islamic State was complete. Reuters Washington editor Mary
>> Well, you have to believe that President Trump's decision to do a total withdrawal of troops from Syria was a big problem for Mattis, for his generals, and for a lot of people at the Pentagon.
We found out that almost every top aide and every commander involved in discussions had advised the president not to withdraw all troops from Syria. Secretary of Defense Mattis went over to the White House today and had a meeting with Trump where they quote aired their differences, and we believe that Syria was a big part of the discussion, Mattis possibly trying to convince the president to rethink the policy on Syria and the president not acquiescing, and then we get Mattis's resignation.
I think the resignation of Secretary of Defense Mattis and his letter are going to be very worrisome for US allies. From the Kurdish forces that have fought along the US forces in northern Syria, they were already devastated by the news of the US withdrawal, and now to see that one of their main supporters, the Secretary of Defense of the United States would be gone too, just must be crushing for them.
>> Mattis is perhaps the highest profile and longest serving appointee in a Trump cabinet beset by resignations, departures, and firings since the president took office. Mattis will remain in the job until February to help ensure an easy transition. The White House has not yet named a replacement.