Secretary of Defense James Mattis is on his way to India to discuss Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and foreign military sales to warm the cockles of the heart at Lockheed and Boeing and Raytheon and General Dynamics and Northop Grumman and, well, you get the picture.
Mattis is traveling with a press gaggle and his relationship with the media has become very estranged for a lot of good reasons. But in particular, they are trying to create conflict between Mattis and Trump by insinuating that Mattis has contradicted Trump. You can check the front page of this site for several examples of this on the subject of transgender soldiers and North Korea.
At the same time, Mattis appears to be becoming increasingly wary of the press, said an administration official close to the situation.
“There is a growing perception by Secretary Mattis that the media is trying to pit him against the president and deliberately misinterpret the things that he says,” said the administration official.
The official cited the recent example of when President Donald Trump tweeted, “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!” Later that day, Mattis had said, “We are never out of diplomatic solutions,” which was widely portrayed as in conflict with the president’s stance. Mattis later clarified, “Diplomatic can include economic sanctions, not just talking. It didn’t contradict anything the president said.”
In the press gaggle, some nimrod pitched this question:
SEC. MATTIS: Yes, I think that’s about it now. I really want to stay on India for right now, folks.
Q: Do you have anything to say about the NFL being someone who has served in the military?
You’ve got to be sh***ing me, right? There is nothing about the tantrum being thrown by a bunch of allegedly “professional” athletes that gives military service any special insight or qualification. What these folks are doing is no different that burning the flag in terms of its message and meaning. Even if you think they have a point, you’re still confronted with the fact that the way they are going about this shows nothing but contempt to the nation. Plus Mattis had just said he wanted to stay on the subject of the India trip.
The answer is pure Mattis:
SEC. MATTIS: I’m the secretary of defense. We defend the country.
The next time anyone wonders why the press has totally forfeited respect and trust, remember this question.