Guy Snodgrass, who worked as a top aide to former Defense Secretary James Mattis, says that while he was surprised that Mattis recently issued a rare public criticism of President Trump, he also believes he was eager to speak up.
“Frankly, I think there’s an element of Mattis that just didn’t want to miss the boat,” Cmdr. Guy Snodgrass, a former Pentagon communications director and Mattis’s chief speechwriter, told the Yahoo News’ “Skullduggery” podcast.
On Wednesday, Mattis, a retired Marine general who served as Trump’s first secretary of defense, said he was “angry and appalled” at the White House response to the nationwide protests in response to the death of George Floyd.
“When I joined the military some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Mattis said in a statement emailed to reporters.
“Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”
Snodgrass said that he has seen Mattis curse and even throw things in a fit of frustration brought on by working with the president, but added that Mattis rarely succumbs to his emotions.
“He has long been an adherent to stoicism,” Snodgrass said of Mattis. “He believes in trying to master control of yourself.”
Several top generals have publicly lambasted the president for politicizing the military in recent days. Mattis’s statement, which was first reported by the Atlantic, is unequivocal about the threat which Mattis believes Trump poses.
“He was always the good soldier, even in private,” Snodgrass said. “I can count the number of times on two hands when he would either board the aircraft after a particularly contentious meeting overseas with something the president had done, like an unannounced Twitter feed blast that would complicate his efforts at NATO or complicate his efforts in the Middle East.”