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Trump forces out Mattis on January 1, two months earlier than expected

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By Reuters
Trump forces out Mattis on January 1, two months earlier than expected
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   -   Copyright  Jonathan Ernst(Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday said he was replacing Defence Secretary Jim Mattis on Jan. 1 with deputy defence secretary Patrick Shanahan in an acting capacity after Mattis resigned over policy differences and offered to stay in his post for two more months.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that Trump was irked by the attention given to Mattis’ resignation letter, which implicitly criticized Trump’s foreign policies and his treatment of military allies after the president’s decision to pull troops out of Syria.

Trump announced Shanahan’s appointment in a tweet, calling the former Boeing Co executive “very talented”.

In a shock announcement on Wednesday, Trump said he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, a decision that upended American policy in the region.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Steve Holland; Writing by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Daniel Wallis)