Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has largely shied away from the spotlight since leaving office last December, took aim at President Trump in a speech at the 74th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York Thursday night.
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, center, delivers the keynote address during the 74th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in NY. "So, I assume I'm the Meryl Streep of generals". "I am guess the Meryl Streep of generals, and frankly that sounds pretty good to me".
"You do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we've had some victories" continued Mattis.
On Thursday evening, Mattis didn't stop at responding to the president's recent barb. Trump's "overrated" comment wasn't the first time that the president mocked Mattis, who used to be one of his top Cabinet officials.
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"And that's really great, because now the airlines allow me to fly for free", he said.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis waits to welcome Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 9, 2018. I earned my spurs on the battlefield ...
Although Trump's nickname for Mattis was "mad dog" - a nickname the former general despised - Mattis said these days he feels more like "an emotional support animal".
Through his autobiography "Call Sign Chaos" that hits the stand on Tuesday, the former US Defence Secretary said, "Off all the countries I've dealt with, I consider Pakistan to be the most risky, because of the radicalization of the society and the availability of nuclear weapons".
Since leaving Trump's Cabinet, the former defense secretary has remained mostly mum on US foreign and military policy. Upon his resignation, he gave Trump a letter outlining his reasoning. Mattis has hinted that one day he may speak out against Trump's policy decisions more directly, saying he does not owe the president his silence "forever".