>> We've been fighting for a long time in Syria.>> US President Donald Trump, on Sunday, forced Defense Secretary Jim Mattis out of his job two months earlier than expected. Naming Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan as acting defense secretary replacing Mattis as of January 1st. Mattis, who resigned last week, had offered to stay in his role until February 28.
A senior White House official told Reuters that Trump was irked by the attention given to Mattis' resignation letter. Which implicitly criticized Trump's foreign policies and his treatment of military allies after the President's decision to pull troops out of Syria. Reuters Pentagon Correspondent Idrees Ali.>> And so everyone really expected him to stay until the end of February.
Attend hearings on a number of different issues from budget to Syria to Afghanistan and to attend a NATO meeting in February. So that was the plan. Last night, Trump sort of tweeted out saying that Secretary Mattis had been fired by President Obama and he gave him a second chance.
And really that foreshadowed the anger and the frustration that President Trump had with the secretary's letter of resignation.>> Mattis' resignation came one day after Trump announced he was withdrawing from Syria, a decision that upended American policy in the region. The President also has plans for a draw down of troops in Afghanistan where Mattis had advocated for a strong US military presence.
Trump announced Shanahan's appointment in a tweet, calling the former Boeing executive very talented.>> In his role, he's essentially been looking at internal Pentagon reform and acquisition, so that's been his focus. He's well known for sort of championing Space Force, which is something President Trump has talked about.
So sort of those three things have been his focus since he took charge as number two. Beyond that, he's seen as competent. He's seen as sort of someone who knows the job who understands the Pentagon, but he really doesn't have the breadth of experience in foreign policy that someone like Jim Mattis had.
And so it'll be interesting to see how he sort of take on the additional portfolio of foreign policy and talking to allies. And sort of really allaying concerns that they now have.>> Officials say Trump is expected to pick a nominee for Defense Secretary over the next couple of weeks.