The letter, which did not offer any praise for the President, spent a page-and-a-half going over Mattis’ disagreements with Trump regarding their views toward international alliances, among other things.
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues,” the letter read. “We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.”
It continued: “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
The Times reported that Mattis met with Trump on Thursday having already written the letter, and that he delivered it to Trump after one more failed attempt to convince the President not to withdraw American forces from Syria, a decision Trump announced Wednesday.