New acting secretary of defense tells Pentagon 'to remember China, China, China'

Jan 04, 2019, 02:04
New acting secretary of defense tells Pentagon 'to remember China, China, China'

At a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump said Mattis "couldn't believe" how much federal money Trump had helped secure for the military.

At the meeting, Shanahan indicated that China would be his top priority.

But Mr. Shanahan sat quietly later as Mr. Trump belittled key USA allies as freeloaders and laid into Mr. Mattis, who officially resigned December 31, during a subsequent Q&A session with reporters.

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Cooper began the segment by pointing to one of Trump's recent tweets, in which he insulted General Stanley McChrystal, who led American forces in Afghanistan during his last position, but was pulled from hist post due to controversial comments he made to a Rolling Stone reporter. '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. How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. Not too good.

Mattis stepped down as defense secretary last month over differences with Trump on a host of national security issues, particularly Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

"I think there does have to be policy alignment [with Trump, ] and I'm not sure that exists, I'm afraid", Petraeus said, according to an interview with BBC Radio Four. Trump could face an uphill battle finding someone who can be confirmed by the Senate in the wake of Mattis' acrimonious departure. Trump asked on Wednesday (Jan 2). His views on alliance relations and other key defense issues are not well known.

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Top advisers to US President Donald Trump met at the Pentagon on Thursday to discuss Syria and other topics, a defense official said. It emphasizes the importance of great power competition with Russian Federation and China, after America's many years of fighting insurgent wars in the Middle East.

The Trump administration has had a troubled relationship with China.

Separately, Shanahan's spokesman, Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, said that as part of Shanahan's ethics agreement he had stepped aside himself "for the duration of his service" at the Pentagon from "matters in which the Boeing Company is a party". This included naming David Norquist, the Pentagon's comptroller, to perform deputy defence secretary duties provisionally as well as retaining his current title.

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Shanahan, a native of Washington state, holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and two advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.