Democrat Jim Webb being floated for defense secretary

WASHINGTON DC- JANUARY 02 U.S. President Donald Trump leads a meeting of his Cabinet including acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in the Cabinet Room at the White House

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images President Trump at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday

President Donald Trump said that he could have made "a good general" in a White House meeting, even as he maintained feuds with several retired generals.

"Thanks to Mad Dog Mattis that we have great military leaders".

In a brief statement issued by his office, Shanahan said he was looking forward "to working with President Trump to carry out his vision alongside strong leaders" of the U.S. defence and military establishment.

While White House officials have denied reports that Trump also has ordered half of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to come home, Trump made it clear he has run out of patience for what's become the longest United States war.

After a string of policy clashes over the past almost two years, Mr. Mattis resigned abruptly in the wake of Mr. Trump's order late last month to withdraw all 2,000 USA forces now deployed to Syria, and slash the 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan by half in the coming year, citing in part the strain Mr. Trump's policies have placed on America's allies.

Trump did not explain his complaint about Mattis' approach to the war.

As for Mattis, he originally offered to remain in his post through February to pave the way for a new defense secretary and prepare for an upcoming North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministerial. 1, accelerating Mattis's departure.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have plumbed new depths under Trump, with a trade war and disagreements over Taiwan and the South China Sea. I hope he does well. But the retired Marine general actually resigned in protest over Trump's decision to pull US troops from Syria. Mattis and other Trump advisers tried unsuccessfully to persuade Trump to stay in Syria long enough to ensure that the Islamic State group, which has largely been defeated on the battlefield, can not regroup.

Mattis chose to leave his post after clashing with Trump and his plan to begin pulling American troops from Syria, but Shanahan's Tuesday statement reads with a slightly more agreeable tone. 'As you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I, ' Trump said before the start of a Cabinet meeting with acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan at his side. He reiterated that position on Wednesday, saying the country was not worth spending further resources or putting US troops at risk. "We're not talking about vast wealth", Trump said.

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