(THE NATION) – Thursday, December 20, will go down in history as the day Americans had to face a devastating truth about the dangerous charlatan in the White House: Trump cares more about the policy wisdom of right-wing grifters like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter than of a lifelong military leader and public servant like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who announced his resignation Thursday evening.
Trump opened the day wounded by complaints from Limbaugh, Coulter, and some Fox News anchors that he was caving on his delusional promise of a border wall if he signed a bill to keep the government open without demanding funding for it, as he planned to do. Trump thought he could fool his followers by claiming the wall is being built (it's not); when they didn't fall for his lie, he flip-flopped and said the bill must give him his $5 billion for the wall, or he'd shut down the government. Apparently, Trump told Limbaugh about his change of heart in a personal phone call. It's good to know who's in charge here.
Just hours later, his beleaguered defense secretary came to him and asked him to rethink his plan to precipitously withdraw American troops from the conflict in Syria. When Trump refused, Mattis submitted a resignation letter that Trump lied and called an announcement of retirement but that was, in fact, the most thoroughgoing and scathing critique of Trump's foreign policy we've seen by anyone who's not a Democrat.
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