Jim Mattis on Monday formally stepped down as defense secretary, two months ahead of his announced resignation date, with a farewell memorandum to employees that quotes Abraham Lincoln.
“Let nothing which is transpiring, change, hinder, or delay your military movements, or plans,” Mattis, citing the former president, wrote to all Defense Department workers.
“Our Department’s leadership, civilian and military remains in the best possible hands. I am confident that each of you remains undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life. Our Department is proven to be at its best when the time are most difficult. So keep the faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes.
“It has been my high honor to serve at your side. May God hold you safe in the air, on land, and at sea.”Mattis submitted his resignation this month after President Donald Trump abruptly decided to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, disregarding his defense secretary’s advice that the move could worsen problems in the region.