Zach Gibson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will leave the Trump administration at the beginning of the new year, President Trump announced Sunday.
This is expected to happen nearly two months earlier than Mattis said he would depart in his resignation letter submitted to the president last week, following Trump’s sudden decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria.
In his announcement on Twitter Sunday morning, the president also named Patrick Shanahan as acting secretary of defense, who is currently the deputy at the department and was a senior vice president of Boeing.
“I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019,” Trump tweeted. “Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!”
The announcement comes just a few days after Mattis’ abrupt resignation. In his letter to the president announcing his resignation, Mattis said he would be on until the end of February.
“The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February,” Mattis wrote.
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