Mattis Disputes Reports Of Being At Odds With Trump by Robert Burns - Associated Press
Where some see Defense Secretary Jim Mattis distancing himself from President Donald Trump on North Korea and other big issues, Mattis sees “someone’s rather rich imagination” at work creating a conflict where he insists none exists.
“I’ve seen this now for months,” Mattis said, referring to reports that he is at odds with the commander in chief.
In an impromptu exchange with reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday, Mattis was asked about interpretations of comments he made Wednesday after Trump tweeted that talking to North Korea “is not the answer.” Shortly after the tweet, a reporter asked Mattis whether the U.S. was out of diplomatic solutions. He replied, “No, we’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”
Some viewed this as contradicting, or even defying, Trump.
“It was widely misinterpreted,” Mattis said. He said he agreed with Trump that the U.S. should not be talking to North Korea now, after it fired a ballistic missile over Japanese territory, which Mattis called “a reckless, provocative act.” There remain diplomatic avenues to pursue in the interest of avoiding war, including additional economic sanctions, Mattis said…