- The Washington Times - Monday, October 15, 2018

After President Trump branded him as “sort of a Democrat,” Defense Secretary James Mattis shot down the charge on Monday and said flatly that he’s never been a Republican or Democrat.

“I’ve never registered for any political party,” the Pentagon chief told reporters while traveling to Vietnam on Monday.

His comments came after being pressed on whether he was, in fact, a Democrat. Before giving his answer, the retired Marine Corps general argued that his role as leader of the U.S. armed forces continues to stand above politics.

“Where am I today? I’m a member of the president’s administration. And you have seen that President Trump’s military policies, security policies, reaping significant bipartisan support,” he said. “But when you think 83 percent of the U.S. Congress voting the same way on an issue put forward by the Republican president, you can see that my portfolio is bipartisan by its very basis, and that is the protection of the United States.”

Mr. Mattis‘ job security has been an open question in Washington for months amid policy differences with the president. Journalist Bob Woodward also reported in a recent book that the Defense chief said Mr. Trump has the understanding of “a fifth-or sixth-grader” after a meeting on North Korea.

In an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night, Mr. Trump acknowledged that Mr. Mattis could soon leave, though he stressed the two men get along.

“He may leave,” Mr. Trump said. “I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. People leave. That’s Washington.”

“I have a very good relationship with him,” the president continued. “I think he’s sort of a Democrat if you want to know the truth. But Gen. Mattis is a good guy. We get along very well.”

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