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Mattis departure draws concern from US lawmakers, world leaders

Defense secretary's resignation sparks questions over domestic and international security policies

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned Thursday over his disagreement with President Donald Trump on foreign policy matters, drawing concern from domestic politicians and world leaders alike.

What are the details?

Mattis submitted his letter of resignation not only to his boss, the commander in chief, but reportedly ordered 50 copies to be distributed throughout the Pentagon after Trump refused to bend in his decision to remove American troops from Syria.

Senators on the right and left quickly raised alarms over the departure of the respected Marines Corps general from Trump's Cabinet.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) voiced his fears on Twitter after reading Mattis' letter, saying the Defense Secretary's message "makes it abundantly clear that we are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries."

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called Mattis' resignation "scary," praising the secretary as "an island of stability amidst the chaos of the Trump administration" while accusing the president of having a "haphazard" approach to Syria.

How are allies responding?

News of the Mattis' departure also rattled some allied leaders abroad. As the former supreme commander of NATO's Allied Command Transformation, Mattis is seen as an expert on international affairs who was valuable to the Trump administration.

Chairman of the European Council on Foreign Relations and former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt said the resignation of Mattis was "a morning of alarm in Europe," calling the secretary of defense "the remaining strong bond across the Atlantic in the Trump administration." He went on to slam other administration officials as weak.

Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian prime minister and current head of the liberals in European Parliament, used the news to rally support for building a standing European army while stoking fear that Mattis leaving was good news for Russian president Vladimir Putin.

One last thing…
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