By ELI WATKINS, BARBARA STARR and RYAN BROWNE | CNN Newsource
President Donald Trump announced on Sunday he would replace Defense Secretary James Mattis at the start of the new year, two months earlier than Mattis’ planned departure.
“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. Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!” Trump tweeted.
Mattis announced his resignation on Thursday with a letter saying his views were not aligned with Trump, who said Mattis would retire at the end of February.
Mattis’ last day is expected to be Jan. 1, according to a source familiar with the matter. He is not expected to have a big, public farewell ceremony to try to prevent further exacerbating tensions between himself and Trump, the source said.
Trump mad at coverage of Mattis resignation
A source familiar with the matter said Trump was mad at the extensive coverage given to Mattis’ resignation and therefore was forcing him to leave earlier than he originally planned
Mattis’ retirement announcement on Thursday led much of Washington, including key Republicans, to express alarm about the change in leadership at the Pentagon. The announcement itself followed Trump’s decision to call for a full withdrawal of troops from Syria and consideration of a drawdown in Afghanistan.
Mattis’ No. 2 to lead Pentagon
Shanahan, Trump’s choice to replace Mattis on an interim basis, was confirmed as Mattis’ No. 2 in the Pentagon last year by an overwhelming margin that came after a confirmation
Shanahan’s portfolio at the Department of Defense has been narrow; he has almost exclusively handled budget issues, internal reform