Defense Secretary James Mattis Contradicts Trump (Again) By Expressing Support For The Iran Deal

General James Mattis, who currently serves as Donald Trump’s secretary of defense, has contradicted his president several times during his short tenure. He temporarily froze the executive order-driven ban on transgender people enlisting and serving in the U.S. military in late August. Around the same time, he also countered one of Trump’s many Twitter tirades against North Korea, in which the president declared “Talking is not the answer!” “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis told the press at the time. On Tuesday, the secretary contradicted Trump again — this time regarding the Iran nuclear deal established by President Obama.

“Secretary Mattis, very quick short-answer question,” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) began during the general’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Do you believe it is in our national security interest at the present time to remain in the JCPOA? That’s a yes or no question.” The “JCPOA” mentioned here is, of course, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the official name of the agreement between Iran, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Germany and the European Union. As for King’s “yes or no” reminder, the senator brought it up because Mattis paused noticeably before responding.

“Yes senator, I do,” Trump’s defense secretary told the committee. Very little was made of the response at the time, but as The Daily Beast notes, Mattis’s answer flies in the face of Trump’s previous rhetoric. During the first months of his presidential campaign, the real estate mogul held an outrageous “Iran deal protest” on Capitol Hill. And while the president ultimately renewed it in July, that didn’t stop him from badmouthing both the deal and its titular country after the fact.

(Via The Daily Beast)