James Mattis, who quit as U.S. Defense Secretary last year, highlights his sharp differences with President Donald Trump over NATO allies and the use of torture in a new and eagerly awaited memoir, The Guardian reported.
The book, Call Sign Chaos, will be published next week, and in it, while Mattis avoids direct criticism of his former boss, he offers some pointed comments that will probably be seized on by opponents of the President.
The retired U.S. marine corps general recalls being surprised in November 2016 when he was called by the then vice-president-elect, Mike Pence, and asked to meet Trump to discuss the job of defense secretary.
Mattis describes being driven to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and having an “amiable” meeting.
However, he notes: “I figured that my strong support of Nato and my dismissal of the use of torture on prisoners would have the president-elect looking for another candidate.”
Trump had voiced support for torture during the 2016 campaign, suggesting he might order the military to break the law on interrogation tactics, including using waterboarding.
He said: “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work – torture works.” Mattis apparently managed to change Trump’s mind. The President told the New York Times: “[Mattis] said: ‘I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture’. And I was very impressed by that answer.”
The pair also disagreed over NATO, which Trump described as “obsolete”, the Iran nuclear deal, negotiations with North Korea and the creation of a space force. Mattis’ sudden resignation last December came after Trump moved to withdraw all US troops from Syria.