Matisse, who was the keynote speaker at the Blue Blood Charity Dinner, made the remarks after Trump attacked the Marine Corps General in resignation following his withdrawal of US forces from Syria. Last week, Trump announced the resignation of the US military presence in the country to the dismay of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The withdrawal paved the way for Turkish air strikes against Kurdish forces, which were loyal US allies in the fight against the Islamic State.
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress strongly condemned the move and the ensuing Turkish aggression. Democratic congressional leaders met with Trump at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the issue, but the meeting turned into an angry confrontation involving the calling of names and early exit of Democrats.
When Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer cites Matisse's assessment that the withdrawal of troops from Syria allows ISIS to recover, Trump declared Matisse as the "world's most overrated general" and demanded credit for defeating the militant group for myself. The note reveals stagnant bad blood from the departure of Matisse from the administration in December, protesting an earlier plan for a military exit from Syria.
Matisse had a historic military career long before Trump's presidency, serving in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. As a retired four-star general, he is seen as a stabilizing force in the temperamental decision-making of the administration. He has voiced opposition to some of Trump's most controversial actions, including the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and escalation of tensions with North Korea. Matisse's commitment to post-war alliances runs counter to the president's inclination to isolationist and transactional rhetoric.
Matisse's departure shook Washington and sank into the Pentagon's morale, at which time Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) tweeted : "That's scary."
Trump was was appalled in the wake of Matisse's resignation and even tried to snatch his resignation via tweet that Matisse was "retiring" minutes before the Pentagon was announced. Although Matisse announced in his resignation that he plans to play his role by February this year, Trump has made a sharp announcement on Twitter that his successor, Patrick Shanahan, will take over on January 1.
In a resignation letter in December, Mathis wrote that Trump had "the right to have a defense secretary whose views are better aligned," and previously stated that owes Trump an obligation to
But that did not prevent the former Pentagon chief from banging on the president Thursday night.
"You have to admit," Matis told the dinner attendees, "that at least we had two victories between Meryl and Meryl. "
Mathis went on to say that while" winning my spurs on the battlefield, Trump "won his spurs in a letter from a doctor. "Jabb is a reference to Trump's postponement of the draft during the Vietnam War on bone spurs.
Schumer, who also attended the dinner, joined the joke, saying that" it was great to catch up with General Matisse – Meryl Streep of the Generals. "
Still, Matisse's birthday has not completely silenced his silence at retirement Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) quoted a video of Matisse at dinner and urged him to speak. "
" You're not a television personality, "Schatz writes." Tell us what you think. Tell us what you know. The republic depends on people like you who speak clearly, quickly, violently. All hands on deck. ”