In another sign of growing chaos at the highest level of the United States government, Defense Secretary James Mattis submitted a letter of resignation to President Trump late Thursday afternoon, in which he noted that the President “had the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views better align with your own.” His Dec. 20 letter follows Trump’s Twitter announcement earlier in the week that Mattis would be stepping down in February.
Responding to the news on Thursday evening, incoming Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi urged Americans to read Mattis’ resignation letter. The full text of the letter is available here:
The resignation comes in a week of nearly continuous chaos. The President made a sudden decision to pull troops out of Syria, and his Dec. 20 rejection of the government funding bill, if no accord can be reached, is nearly guaranteed to shut down the government just in time for Christmas, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers across America.
The White House was reported Thursday evening by MSNBC and CNN to be “in a tail spin” over the funding bill. The President had earlier assured Republican legislators that he would sign the bill, approved unanimously on Wednesday evening by the U.S. Senate. After getting attacked by conservative pundits who urged him to stand his ground on funding his border wall, Trump caved to their pressure.
The U.S. Economy is reacting to the uncertainty; the turmoil includes a plummeting stock market (the worst Dec. performance since Dec. 1931, when the country was in the throws of a pro-longed bank panic). The Dow Jones Industrial Average logged a 400-point drop on Thursday alone, after a punishing week, where stocks reacted to the Federal Reserve rate hike. The Nasdaq closes 1.6% lower on Thursday, putting index on the verge of a bear market.