U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said President Donald Trump has reassured him of his full support after the Republican president described his Pentagon chief as “sort of a Democrat” who could leave the administration.
Mattis, speaking to reporters before landing in Vietnam on Tuesday, said he received the reassurance from Trump in a phone call during his nearly 20-hour flight from Washington.
“(Trump) said, ‘I’m 100 percent with you’,” Mattis recounted, playing down Trump’s remarks to CBS’ “60 Minutes,” which aired on Sunday.
Asked whether he was a Democrat, as Trump suggested, Mattis, disclosed that he had not registered as a Democrat or a Republican.
“I have never registered for any political party,” said Mattis, a retired Marine general.
Mattis sought to portray national defense as an issue above partisan politics. He also pointed to a long military career that taught him to act in a “proudly apolitical” manner, in which U.S. servicemembers carry out orders from Republican and Democratic presidents alike.
Mattis said he did not talk to Trump about leaving his job and dismissed speculation he was being pushed out.
“I’m on his team. We have never talked about me leaving. And as you can see right here, we are on our way (to Asia). We just continue doing our job,” Mattis said.
The remarks represented Mattis’ first and only response since Trump’s assertions to CBS raised questions about whether Mattis might be getting ready to leave his job, perhaps after mid-term U.S. elections next month.
Trump told the news program: “I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth. But General Mattis is a good guy. We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves.”
Mattis’ future has become a focus of media speculation, particularly after last month’s release of a book by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward that portrayed Mattis privately disparaging Trump to associates.
Mattis has strongly denied making any such remarks.
Trump had long been deferential toward Mattis, saying on Sept. 5 his defense chief would remain in his job.
Mattis has previously made no secret of the fact that he was not looking to become secretary of defense – or even return to Washington – when Trump was elected.
Mattis had stepped down from the military in 2013 and taken a job at Stanford University. He told his Senate confirmation hearing last year he was “enjoying a full life west of the Rockies” when the call came about the position.
Asked last month about reports he may be leaving, Mattis said: “I wouldn’t take it seriously at all.”
Western officials privately extol Mattis, whose standing among NATO allies has risen as they become increasingly bewildered by Trump’s policies on trade and Iran and disoriented by his outreach to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
One factor thought to have darkened Mattis’ prospects is this year’s arrival in the White House of Mira Ricardel, who has the powerful post of deputy national security adviser and is believed to dislike Mattis, current and former officials have told Reuters.
He is also seen as less hawkish on Iran than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Theresa May Survives Confidence Vote
British Prime Minister Theresa May can rest easy after winning a vote of confidence on Wednesday night in the conservative party by 200 to 117.
After alighting from the vote last night unscathed, she is now immune from a leadership challenge for a year.
But rocky road still lies ahead as she tries to push through a vote in parliament to adopt her Brexit deal with the EU.
After the all important confidence vote on wednesday night, May was in Brussels again thursday morning to finetune the divorce deal she had struck for Britain.
May vowed, after vote results were announced on Wednesday night, that she will deliver the brexit “people voted for.”
She acknowledged the rather high number of her MPs who had voted against her. She promised to listen to, and address, their concerns.
The vote was triggered by 48 of her MPs who are angry at her Brexit policy. They say the deal betrays the demands of the 2016 referendum result.
IATA Forecasts Airlines Will Generate $3b More In 2019
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents most global carriers, has forecast airlines will generate $3 billion more in total profits in 2019. The industry realized $32 billion this year. IATA says although airlines face increased taxes, they will carry more passengers next year that would boost industry profits.
Iata says airlines in North America are performing the best, but Africa remains the weakest region for aviation.
Net profits for airlines across Africa are expected to fall, for the fourth consecutive year next year by three-tenths of a percent.
Losses for carriers across Africa have widened as fuel costs have increased.
UN Urges Immediate Action On Climate Change
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday at the ongoing 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) in Poland that it will “not only be immoral, but suicidal”, should the world body fail to agree on climate change action.
He challenged the more than 100 government leaders gathered in Katowice to find consensus and “finish the job”, noting the roadblocks continuing at the (COP24) climate change conference over how to implement the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.
Since Dec. 2, the conference has brought together thousands of climate action decision-makers, advocates and activists, with one key objective – to adopt global guidelines for the 197 parties of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The 197 parties of the 2015 Paris Agreement committed to limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Centigrade – and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Centigrade – above pre-industrial levels.
As the conference nears its end, the UN chief acknowledged progress in the negotiations but said a lot still remains to be done.
- Theresa May Survives Confidence Vote December 13, 2018
- EU Rejects Bid To Unfreeze Mubarak’s Assets December 13, 2018
- IATA Forecasts Airlines Will Generate $3b More In 2019 December 13, 2018
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