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Inside Trump's First Pentagon Briefing
What I saw there that foretold
the coming rift between Mattis
and the president—and today's
foreign policy crises.

Original Article

Posted By: BigRedBill, 10/25/2019 2:30:15 PM

Long before real planning for it began, and long before the first news stories about it, those of us in the top levels of the Pentagon heard President Donald Trump demand the military parade he would eventually get. The bizarre request was one of the first signs I had of the enormous rift between my boss at the time, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and the president.


Quite an interesting and disturbing article. First article to really make me question Trump's leadership.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: ROLFNader 10/25/2019 2:36:53 PM (No. 217435)
You must be new here, OP. We don't DO Wapolitico or anyone who does.
26 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: Toby Ten Bears 10/25/2019 2:41:38 PM (No. 217437)
I didn't know there was a crisis... I guess peace is a foreign policy crisis. Who knew?!
33 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: Bur Oak 10/25/2019 2:42:59 PM (No. 217440)
Guy Snodgrass was Gen. Mattis speech writer and chief of communications. Could it be that he's a bit biased?
36 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: edgar 10/25/2019 2:59:36 PM (No. 217445)
Washington is broken and has been for a long, long time. It takes an outsider to drain the swamp. Sure, Swamp Monsters will be disturbed. That's how you know the outsider is being effective. There is still a long way to go. I will give this guy credit for using his name to write the article, though.
16 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: HisHandmaiden 10/25/2019 3:06:26 PM (No. 217448)
“...hoped the briefing would educate Trump on the United States’ longstanding commitment to the rest of the world.” No need to read more. KAG
35 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: zephyrgirl 10/25/2019 3:09:13 PM (No. 217449)
It is time for the rest of the world to buck up, stand on their own two feet, and solve their own problems. The U.S.A. has been the world's patsy for far too long.
33 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: dwa 10/25/2019 3:12:24 PM (No. 217450)
First, the writer's bias is very plain in the adjectives he uses to describe Trump and his body language. Second, Trump was elected to shake up the "we've always done it that way" mentality in DC so it is no surprise that Trump received the discussion the way he did. And, so far, Trump has proven to be right on many of the things the writer disagreed with Trump on in that meeting. And Third, the fact that the writer wrote for Politico also shows where his political biases are.
24 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: Laotzu 10/25/2019 3:23:39 PM (No. 217454)
So what the author is saying is, Trump was right.
14 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: cjjeepercreeper 10/25/2019 3:31:49 PM (No. 217457)
There's a reason this was published 4 days ago and no one posted it.
21 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: SavageRider 10/25/2019 3:35:25 PM (No. 217461)
If the first Pentagon briefing went as told by this guy, I can imagine Trump would be chomping at the bit. It seems like they mistook Trump for Obama, who probably needed a lesson on world dynamics. Trump had a plan coming in and he didn't need fools to treat him like a child.
14 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: judy 10/25/2019 3:36:48 PM (No. 217463)
Trump wanted the conflicts over with fast, I assume Mattis likes longgggg wars. I wish all presidents preferred short wars. We're still in Germany, Japan & SK. Remember when Obama was president he required the troops to knock on the door before they took any action. Remember when Trump called Mattis a liberal. I bet secretly Mattis thinks Trump is right.
8 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: volksford 10/25/2019 3:51:11 PM (No. 217468)
It's nice to know we are still keeping the peace in Japan
8 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: Enoch Powell 10/25/2019 3:56:49 PM (No. 217471)
I stopped reading when I read "those of us in the top levels of the Pentagon" figuring this self-impressed, arrogant jack wagon would only be spouting self serving Trump bashing claptrap. Tell me I'm wrong.
18 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: happywarrior 10/25/2019 4:02:08 PM (No. 217474)
Question away OP. We here don't give a rip.
12 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: JunkYardDog 10/25/2019 4:14:44 PM (No. 217481)
The last thing any General wants to hear is to pull out. McCain worked deals with contractors, Mattis was career military, and there is quite a lot of money involved with the DoD. So when Trump announces that the US isn’t obligated to stay in the Middle East (because the Arabs have been slaughtering each other nonstop for the last 1,000 years) the war mongers are up in arms. Will ISIS return if we aren’t there? Maybe, but the Turks and the Saudis don’t like them either so give them a taste of what it’s been like trying to keep the peace.
11 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: Faldo 10/25/2019 4:21:33 PM (No. 217486)
I thought it was educational, and a behind the scenes 'look' at the dynamics that were at play--excellent post...! The comments are another form of 'education'....
5 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: clipped wings 10/25/2019 5:13:44 PM (No. 217514)
Mattis, I'll readily admit, is *not* one of my examples of a warrior general. He lost any credibility in an incident where he displayed a callous regard for countrymen in need of support. You may remember the incident :
8 people like this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: DanvilleBill 10/25/2019 5:13:58 PM (No. 217515)
Note to OP. From's 'Rules & FAQs: "Posted articles should be no more than 48 hours old - - - unless an older article would serve as vital background for a current posted article." This rule applies doubly to stupid Politico articles such as this one.
10 people like this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: NYbob 10/25/2019 5:29:40 PM (No. 217521)
With THIS President EVERYONE feels free to violate any Federal law or guidelines about what is classified information. Willfully ignorant drones lap it up and then feel emboldened to make comments inferring that THEY have more world experience, more strategic planning ability, more brilliant solutions to decades of stalemate. It would be laughable if it weren't so pathetic. A hanger on parasite to a grandstanding fool of a military leader shoots off his mouth as if he is some kind of wise soul who is fit to judge the first truly reforming President of the last 50 years. EVERY General and every one of their supporters can step up any day now and explain exactly what they have accomplished with the longest war the USA has ever had. These pitiful, political, punks could not shine the shoes of most of the military officers of the 1940s who took a largely unprepared USA and totally destroyed the Axis powers on a two front world war, all in 4 years. With zero military aggression since. Guy and his General should stroll thru the cemeteries and hospital wards and explain to armed services personnel and their families why they should continue to be allowed to send Americans into meatgrinders. I'm sure many would love to know why their failed policies are better than any ideas or plans President Trump has. BTW Guy shut your mouth about what goes on in the Pentagon. People have been sent to prison for that kind of thing. At least they used to be.
10 people like this.

Reply 20 - Posted by: caljeepgirl 10/25/2019 5:35:36 PM (No. 217531)
OP, thank you for posting....this truly gives a glimpse inside the actual goings on....I swear I could literally hear the author's eyeballs rolling up in his head and see his vantage point from high above his nose....very steep descent down that nose.
5 people like this.

Reply 21 - Posted by: NYbob 10/25/2019 5:35:38 PM (No. 217532)
Thanks #17. That link explains a lot about Mattis. Even smaller than I thought.
5 people like this.

Reply 22 - Posted by: rochow 10/25/2019 5:40:39 PM (No. 217536)
I guess Mattis send an underling to start hitting back at Trump. I am not buying. Perhaps the writer is a registered Dem??? Of course anything that Politico puts out has to be lefty and attempting to smear the president.
5 people like this.

Reply 23 - Posted by: bighambone 10/25/2019 6:09:00 PM (No. 217551)
One thing about this, if unelected bureaucratic underlings keep leaking what should be restricted information from confidential high level meetings between the President and the Secretaries of Defense and State, in about 10 years this country will be ungovernable. Remember this was President Trump’s first Pentagon meeting after he was elected so he did not know what to expect, other then he would be spied on by the Pentagon special interests.
1 person likes this.

Reply 24 - Posted by: LadyVet 10/25/2019 6:32:55 PM (No. 217569)
I have to say that this article makes me think a lot less of Mattis. Sounds like Trump intentionally threw him off his game and Mattis was not nimble enough to adjust. Sounds like the weeny speechwriter did not serve Mattis well.
3 people like this.

Reply 25 - Posted by: erickbb58 10/25/2019 8:22:17 PM (No. 217619)
Why are we posting articles from a fake-news-far-left-wing-rags like Politico and AP? I can't read any of the articles completely through because I hurl after the first few lines - they're so foul-smelling.
1 person likes this.

Reply 26 - Posted by: ussjimmycarter 10/25/2019 9:20:47 PM (No. 217655)
We elected Trump, not Mattis or any other "General"... Mattis didn't become a 4 star by being a warrior, that isn't possible today. Yea, he commanded troops in action but he is hardly a Patton or McArthur! Civilians control the military in America for a reason. General Mattis...salute...turn and charge the hill as ordered or submit your resignation...which he did!!! The President doesn't like meetings with lot's of PowerPoint. My staff of Project Managers tried that on me once. I got up and walked out and told them that I'm willing to meet with them at anytime they are ready to have an open discussion about what is going on...until then, I was busy working with our business partners... Every once in awhile an Accenture Consultant would influence my guys that large .PPT presentations were of value...I had to break them of this notion fast and hard...and I did. They NEVER tried it again! Accenture Codes with PowerPoint was our catch phrase at the Big 6 the way!
2 people like this.

Reply 27 - Posted by: TexaTucky 10/25/2019 10:31:32 PM (No. 217694)
What amateurish concern trolling, OP. Now get out.
10 people like this.

Reply 28 - Posted by: recrem64 10/26/2019 11:56:39 AM (No. 218178)
When I first read this article, I reacted like many did -- disappointed in President Trump's random off-the-subject comments and his attitude towards the briefers. But then I remembered my years of briefing generals at HQ PACAF, HQ USAFE and at the Pentagon. I realize now many of them would have reacted like President Trump. Generals I briefed didn't want our (I usually represented a directorate or department) opinion laced into the briefing--they wanted the facts. If they wanted our opinion they would ask for it after the briefing was over. And that was not the tone of these briefings. I think President Trump was a bit defensive going in to the briefings because he knew he would be flooded with opinions from "the swamp" and there is no doubt from the comments made by the author that these briefings were loaded with opinion. Trump came into office knowing full well he was up against the massive swamp bureaucracy and that they were against him. This whole article is suffused with the "he's an idiot and we need to set him straight" attitude that he sensed immediately. He reacted as he should have--with indignation.
4 people like this.

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