James Mattis retiring as Trump's defense secretary in February

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It would be a Christmas miracle if the Trump administration didn't have a staff shake-up before the end of the year.

He told Trump in a letter that he was leaving because "you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours".

Trump also said he would nominate Mattis's successor "shortly". "I greatly thank Jim for his service!"

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis abruptly said he was quitting on Thursday after falling out with President Donald Trump over his foreign policies, one day after Trump rebuffed top advisers and made a decision to pull all US troops out of Syria.

It may very well be that the president's decision to remove troops from Syria and potentially from Afghanistan was a final difference that Mattis could not overcome. At this stage of the presidency, two years down, President Ronald Reagan (1981 to 1989) had 59% turnover; George H W Bush (1989-1993) 17%; Bill Clinton (1993-2001) 58%; George W Bush (2001-2009) 17%; and Barack Obama (2009-2016) 41%, according to the study. He noted his "core belief" that American strength is "inextricably linked" with the nation's alliances with other countries, a position seemingly at odds with the "America First" policy of the President.

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He also cited Russian Federation and China as countries with interests that are "increasingly in tension with our own", and advised against showing support for authoritarian regimes.

Trump tweeted that Mattis is retiring at the end of February "with distinction".

Mattis, who submitted his resignation letter on Thursday, is expected to step down from his post in February. "It's a letter of great patriotism, respect for the President, but also a statement of his values".

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is stepping down at an extraordinarily fraught moment in American foreign policy.

Mattis was one of Trump's first cabinet picks after the 2016 election.

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Ultimately, the president is a nationalist in the best sense of word - a patriot who wants the best for his nation and all our citizens - not someone hostile to other parts of the world, as the distorted leftist rewrite of the term falsely asserts.

In Washington, Secretary Mattis's experience and stability were widely seen as a balance to an unpredictable president and his departure would add to the chaos and unease that surrounds the Trump administration. Tellingly, unlike Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, Mattis did not accompany the president to the summit in Singapore this summer with North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un.

At the Pentagon, he followed a succession of defense chiefs - Ash Carter, Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta - who each lasted about two years in office.

"Trump needed to also overhaul the rest of his top-tier defense and national security advisers and chiefs, Jatras said".

I have been privileged to serve as our country's 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in the defense of our citizens and our ideals.

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