Trump apparently didn't read Mattis' resignation letter until cable news made a big deal of it

Defense Secretary James Mattis stares at Trump
(Image credit: Getty Images)

"The resignation letter of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis runs just shy of 600 words," Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple noted Wednesday. "For the average reader, digesting such a missive is an undertaking of about three minutes, maybe a bit less. Way too much, in other words, for the president of the United States." Wemple pointed to a New York Times report that President Trump did not actually read the resignation letter or understand its stinging rebuke of his neglect of allies and affinity for authoritarians until "after days of news coverage."

After initially praising Mattis, Trump "grew increasingly angry as he watched a parade of defense analysts go on television to extol Mr. Mattis's bravery," describing him "in near heroic terms for standing up to Mr. Trump and making his resignation count as no one else in the president's circle has done," the Times said. On Sunday, Trump had enough and announced "he was firing a man who had already quit," abruptly setting Mattis' departure date at Jan. 1, not at the end of February as had originally been agreed.

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